Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell pdf, Book, by Susanna Clarke

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell pdf Book Summary

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell pdf book is the debut novel by British writer Susanna Clarke. 

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell premise is that magic once existed in England and has returned with two men: Gilbert Norrell and Jonathan Strange. 

The book is an alternative history set in 19th-century England around the time of the Napoleonic Wars. 

At the dawn of the nineteenth century, two very different magicians emerge to change England’s history. In the year 1806, with the Napoleonic Wars raging on land and sea, most people believe magic to be long dead in England-until the reclusive Mr Norrell reveals his powers, and becomes a celebrity overnight.

Soon, another practicing magician comes forth: the young, handsome, and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell’s student, and they join forces in the war against France. But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic, straining his partnership with Norrell, and putting at risk everything else he holds dear.

jonathan strange & mr norrell book pdf book video review and summary

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Characters

  • Gilbert Norrell: England’s first “practical magician” in centuries. He keeps a large collection of “books of magic,” which he has spent years purchasing to keep out of the hands of others, in his library at Hurtfew Abbey in Yorkshire.
  • Jonathan Strange: a young gentleman who has recently inherited his father’s property in Shropshire, who becomes England’s second magician and Mr Norrell’s pupil. He marries Arabella Woodhope.
  • Stephen Black: Sir Walter Pole’s butler and the head servant of the Pole household. He is of African descent, born to a woman enslaved on Sir Walter’s grandfather’s estate in Jamaica.
  • The gentleman with thistle-down hair: a powerful fairy whom Mr Norrell first summons to revive Lady Pole. He is the ruler of several Kingdoms in Faerie, including Lost-Hope, where he hosts balls each night.

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Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell pdf Book Author – Susanna Clarke

Susanna Clarke author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Susanna Clarke author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Susanna Clarke the author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell pdf book was born in Nottingham in 1959. A nomadic childhood was spent in towns in Northern England and Scotland. She was educated at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, and has worked in various areas of non-fiction publishing, including Gordon Fraser and Quarto. In 1990, she left London and went to Turin to teach English to stressed-out executives of the Fiat motor company. The following year she taught English in Bilbao.

She returned to England in 1992 and spent the rest of that year in County Durham, in a house that looked out over the North Sea. There she began working on her first novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

From 1993 to 2003, Susanna Clarke was an editor at Simon and Schuster’s Cambridge office, where she worked on their cookery list. She has published seven short stories and novellas in US anthologies. One, “The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse,” first appeared in a limited-edition, illustrated chapbook from Green Man Press. Another, “Mr Simonelli or The Fairy Widower,” was shortlisted for a World Fantasy Award in 2001.

She lives in Cambridge with her partner, the novelist and reviewer Colin Greenland. 

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell pdf Book Information

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell pdf book
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Tor Books (August 1, 2006)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 1024 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0765356155
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0765356154
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 14.1 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 4.24 x 1.63 x 6.84 inches
  • Best Sellers Rank: #364,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • #363 in British & Irish Humor & Satire
  • #1,071 in Historical British & Irish Literature
  • #1,497 in Humorous Fantasy (Books)
  • Customer Reviews: 4.3 out of 5 stars    5,315 ratings

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“What kind of magic can make an 800-page novel seem too short? Whatever it is, debut author Susanna Clarke is possessed by it.” ―USA Today on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

“Ravishing…A chimera of a novel that combines the dark mythology of fantasy with the delicious social comedy of Jane Austen into a masterpiece of the genre that rivals Tolkien…What really sets Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell apart is its treatment of magic. Clarke’s magic is a melancholy, macabre thing, confabulated out of snow and rain and mirrors and described with absolute realism … Clarke has another rare faculty: she can depict evil … [she] reaches down into fantasy’s deep, dark, twisted roots, down into medieval history and the scary, Freudian fairy-tale stuff. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell reminds us that there’s a reason fantasy endures: it’s the language of our dreams. And our nightmares.” ―Time

“Clarke’s imagination is prodigious, her pacing is masterly and she knows how to employ dry humor in the service of majesty.” ―The New York Times on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell pdf book.

“Unquestionably the finest English novel of the fantastic written in the last seventy years. It’s funny, moving, scary, otherworldly, practical and magical, a journey through light and shadow–a delight to read, both for the elegant and precise use of words, which Ms. Clarke deploys as wisely and dangerously as Wellington once deployed his troops, and for the vast sweep of the story, as tangled and twisting as old London streets or dark English woods. Closing Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrel after 800 pages, my only regret was that it wasn’t twice the length…. From beginning to end, a perfect pleasure.” ―Neil Gaiman, author of Anansi Boys, American Gods, and the Sandman series

“Immense, intelligent, inventive…Clarke is a restrained and witty writer with an arch and eminently readable style.” ―Entertainment Weekly on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

“Over the course of nearly 800 pages Clarke channels the world of Jane Austen, the Gothic tale, the Silver-Fork Society novel, military adventure à la Bernard Sharpe or Patrick O’Brian, romantic Byronism and Walter Scott’s passion for the heroic Northern past. She orchestrates all these fictive elements consummately well…Many books are to be read, some are to be studied, and a few are meant to be lived in for weeks. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is of this last kind.” ―The Washington Post on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

“Combining folklore and fantasy with horror-story imagination, [Clarke] creates a Napoleonic-era England alive with the promise–and danger–of uncontrollable forces…Clarke’s sober style keeps the fantasy grounded, and meticulous historical research brings the magical episodes to terrifying life.” ―People (Critic’s choice, four stars) on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

“The most sparkling literary debut of the year.” ―Salon on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

“Mesmerizing.” ―Harper’s Bazaar on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

“This 800-page work of fantasy–think Harry Potter sprinkled with the dust of Tolkien and Alasdair Gray–posits an extraordinary alternative history of England where magic, fairies, spirits and enchantments were once part of everyday life…This incredible work of the imagination, which took Clarke more than 10 years to write, ends all too soon.” ―New York Post (four stars) on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

“Here is a writer who remembers that true fairy tales carry a sting and the creatures themselves were never properly domesticated to the nursery. Her uncanny book is an object lesson in the pleasures–and risks–of enchantment.” ―Village Voice on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

“Gorgeous…A terrific, phenomenally ambitious book.” ―The Onion on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

“An instant classic, one of the finest fantasies ever written.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

“Extraordinary…Will enchant readers of fantasy and of literary fiction alike.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

“A smashing success…History and fantasy form a beautiful partnership in this detailed, authentic, and heartfelt novel.” ―Booklist (starred review) on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

“Wonderful. At almost 800 pages, it is an immense, densely plotted story, peopled with a a vast cast of extremely well-drawn characters, filled with unexpected events, ancient prophesies,varied and exotic settings, and all manner of human and inhuman conflict, and it is built one splendid scene upon the next.” ―Toronto Globe and Mail on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

“Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell pdf book comes across as equal parts Jane Austen and Charles Dickens flavored with Rowling and Tolkien. It’s inarguably one of the year’s best and most original works.” ―National Post (Canada)

“Combines the wit of Jane Austen with the subterranean spookiness of the works of Arthur Conan Doyle.” ―Seattle Times on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

“An enthralling, unique read.” ―Baltimore Sun

“Witty dialogue, cunning observations, and intriguing footnotes…[A] sweeping adventure full of telling details, mixing history and fantasy to create worlds of deep imagination that seem as real as our own.” ―San Francisco Chronicle on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

“While Jonathan Strange is every bit as whimsical and playful as the Harry Potter books, it is also grave and upsetting, the very opposite of comforting children’s entertainment…Clarke has delivered a book of universal truths and unexpectedly heartbreaking acuity.” ―Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“Utterly enchanting. [Clarke’s] union of historical fiction and fantasy is fresh, it is surprising, and it will appeal to those who want nothing more than to be carried away to a world crafted by a superb storyteller.” ―Denver Post on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

“Extraordinary…If Harry Potter is the kind of book that makes you want to be a kid again, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is the kind of novel that will remind you that being an adult should be a whole lot more fun.” ―Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“I found it absolutely compelling. The narrative drive is irresistible and I could not stop reading until I had finished it. The narrator’s tone is beautifully judged. It’s full of wonderfully deadpan humour and its reticence leaves the reader to make up his or her mind about the characters. I loved all the invented scholarship and was fascinated by the mixture of historical realism and utterly fantastic events. I almost began to believe that there really was a tradition of ‘English magic’ that I had not heard about. The author captures the period and its literary conventions with complete conviction. And a large part of the fun is seeing how an early nineteenth century novel copes with the impact of magic. It’s an astonishing achievement. I can’t think of anything that is remotely like it.” ―Charles Palliser, author of The Quincunx, on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell pdf book.


“Ravishing…Combines the dark mythology of fantasy with the delicious social comedy of Jane Austen into a masterpiece of the genre that rivals Tolkien.”―Time

At the dawn of the nineteenth century, two very different magicians emerge to change England’s history. In the year 1806, with the Napoleonic Wars raging on land and sea, most people believe magic to be long dead in England―until the reclusive Mr Norrell reveals his powers, and becomes a celebrity overnight.

Soon, another practicing magician comes forth: the young, handsome, and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell’s student, and they join forces in the war against France. But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic, straining his partnership with Norrell, and putting at risk everything else he holds dear.

“What kind of magic can make an 800-page novel seem too short? Whatever it is, debut author Susanna Clarke is possessed by it.”―USA Today

“From beginning to end, a perfect pleasure.”―Neil Gaiman

Reviews from Amazon Buyers

Valerie Ponce

5.0 out of 5 stars I’ve read a lot of reviews of the kindle version of this book stating that it is boring, (as if it were a fact
Reviewed in the United States on October 28, 2015

Verified Purchase

The following review is written by my 15 year old daughter for whom I bought this book:

I’ve read a lot of reviews of the kindle version of this book stating that it is boring, (as if it were a fact.) Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but to flat out say it’s boring is an insult to what I consider to be a masterpiece. “Not my cup of tea” would be the better thing to say. For me, it was a page turner, and I actually wish it were longer. I’m inclined to think that if it were infinitely long, I’d just keep on reading and reading!
Why do I love this book so much? The writing, for one thing. It’s beautiful, and I just love the way the author described things. I almost laughed out loud at some of the comic descriptions of characters, but other times the descriptions were just plain creepy or haunting.
The plot was also very interesting to me. The characters are fully fleshed out, and I came to feel as if I knew them. A lot of the book is spent describing things and on conversations between characters, without a lot actually happening, per say, but to me, it just never got boring. Most of the actual action happens near the end. It’s not a thriller, but to me, it’s infinitely better. And no, this is not “Harry Potter for grown ups.” I personally prefer it to Harry Potter, but if it’s two magicians flinging fireballs at each other you’re looking for, this isn’t it. The magic tends to be things like walking through mirrors, making it rain, and conjuring up visions.
Like I said, everyone’s entitled to their opinions. This is mine. In short, this is a wonderfully well written book that is sometimes creepy, sometimes comic, and sometimes serious. It’s not for someone with a short attention span. The length never bothered me, but if you’re willing to commit, it honestly doesn’t take that long to read. I have already HIGHLY recommended this book to some of my friends, and over the years, I will go back and read it over and over again.

bibbbidybobbidyboop

4.0 out of 5 stars This is the review that would have been most helpful for me
Reviewed in the United States on June 1, 2021

Verified Purchase

First & to get this out of the way – don’t base your expectations on the publisher’s synopsis of the book, the blurb on the back of the book, or any other official descriptions/summaries of this book because they are not accurate. This is a tough book to summarize and advertise, but having a better set of expectations would have helped me a lot as a reader.

So – This is not a fast-paced, action-packed adventure. Norrell is introduced in the beginning of the book, but Strange doesn’t appear until page 250ish. They aren’t some duo of competing or warring magicians, and (tbh) the magic they produce is uneven and often underwhelming until the end. The novel chronicles Norrell and Strange as they try to become proficient & learn more about magic (Norrell is the self-proclaimed “fearful” expert with decades of isolated ‘practical magic’ while Strange is a more mercurial and enthusiastic “arrogant” newer and gifted enthusiast who picks it up quickly). And neither is ever very sure of what they’re doing, and that is the core part of the plot as it unfolds.

Point being – This is a character-driven 1000-page slow burn that spans 1806 – 1817 and spends most of the first 700 pages carefully developing some of the most intricately crafted characters, architecture, geography, and backstory that I’ve ever come across. Even secondary and tertiary characters are developed with such care. There are a very large number of footnotes, some spanning multiple pages. Places and relationships and histories (some real, some myth, some fiction) are again crafted with the utmost detail and care. In fact, the character who is mentioned most & with the greatest focus is never given a name and only visibly appears for a brief scene in the end of the book. Another character (with ‘thistledown hair’) is also never given a name but has a central role and arguably influences/antagonizes the plot more than anyone else. And also – Faery and associated mythologies are prominent throughout.

It’s in the final 300ish pages that Clarke’s giftedness in building such a detailed novel begins to reveal itself. The book begins to manifest a momentum and intensity that (as the reader) you hadn’t noticed was building; and the richness and depth of the characters begins to manifest in action and consequence and relationships in ways that feel not just satisfying but also justified. Each character faces their own fitting, karma-esque conclusion and every aspect of the plot (both minor and major) is wrapped up.

I am a fast reader, and this book was frustrating for me in that it forced me to slow down and digest each piece of it. I loved Piranesi, and in a way this is a longer Piranesi-esque story – it’s a maze that the reader is placed into and we follow the characters as they blindly work their way through it.

I thoroughly enjoyed Norrell & Strange and I love Clarke’s writing. This novel is a delight.

Karen Cobb

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the finest books I’ve ever read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 19, 2017

Verified Purchase

This is without doubt one of the finest books I’ve ever read. I was a little unsure at first. The style is (deliberately) old-fashioned and the pace very slow. If you haven’t the patience for that, then this is not the book for you – I suspect that every one of the 1star reviews are due to style. It hasn’t been sliced and diced by an editor to hit the modern profit sweetspot of 70-80k words (and thank you so much Bloomsbury for understanding the need to leave it be. Cutting it to the desirable size for a new author would have destroyed it).

If you have the patience, or are a fan of 18th and 19th century fiction, then buy it! Buy it now! It’s fabulous. There’s a rich fictional history that is slowly exposed through footnotes, alongside a story of two deeply flawed men, each blundering along a magical path they believe they understand, but which is utterly obscured from their view. There are no obvious heroes or villains here. No clear-cut moral values. Mistakes are made and consequences felt.

It’s rare I’ll read a book that has me exclaiming aloud at the actions of a character, knowing that it will cause mayhem and yet having only the dimmest notion what the consequences will be. It’s even rarer to read something where I truly don’t know where it’s going. There’s no well-worn literary path here, no tired story tropes.
Without saying too much and spoiling it I don’t know what else to say. Just buy it. Do it now.

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