Saturday, January 27, 2007

Book Review : Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

In an effort to add more content to my blog -- besides the usually whinging and whining of a wannabe novelist -- I've decided to add book reviews. Now, I'm not one of those people who read disgustingly fast. Depending on the book, I can read at a speed approximating that of a slo motion turtle on heroin doing the moonwalk on a glacier (Atlas Shrugged) or with the voracious appetite of a 15 year old virgin reading through the instructions of a condom package (Enders Game).

Now Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell was a beast of a book. 1000 pages or something like that, written by an English professor. I think. A professor of something anyways. The sort of profession that loves foot notes and addendums, and boy howdy, does it show.

Summary Two magicians in Victorian Era England. Norrel teaches Strange stuff. War happens. Strange helps out. Norrel tries to wrest power from Strange. Some creepy guy with thistledown hair whisks various people to a dreary place to dance and stuff. Stuff happens. Strange and Norrel battle for supremacy.

What it's Like If Jane Austen wrote a fantasy novel, this would be it. It has that sort of tone. One gets the sensation of dreary, dull gray days spent in drawing rooms discussing social minutiae of waxy complexioned people who have more money than god but nevertheless have the constitution of an anemic Skeletor on his death bed. When you're done, you really get the sense of reading a Literary Novel. With the capital L, and the capital N. It's quite an accomplishment. If you like this sort of tone throughout, like magic, and love Victorian England, drop everything and buy this book.

Rating four scones out of a possible 23 lightly honeyed Earl Grey teas. It's good, just not something I would go out of my way to read. Again.

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