Please join us as we discuss Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, the phenomenal debut novel by Susanna Clarke, which swept the Hugo, Locus, and World Fantasy Awards and was named Time Magazine's Book of the Year in 2005. This is a rather long novel at about 1,006 pages, and it's written in a very specific style, so you may wish to give yourself plenty of time to read it.
Please keep your RSVP updated and accurate!* Space is limited for this event. If it fills up, please add yourself to the waiting list if interested. Please note that this is our smaller morning session (our afternoon session can be found here). Additionally, there will not be an automatic reminder e-mail for this event, so please add it to your calendar if attending. If enough space opens up in the afternoon session, or if there isn't sufficient interest for our morning session, we may consolidate both sessions into the afternoon timeslot.
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.
" 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 Magazine
" 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 Norrell after 800 pages, my only regret was that it wasn't twice the length.... From beginning to end, a perfect pleasure. " -- Neil Gaiman
*Since missing one of these meetups is taking a spot away from someone else who wants to go, we'll need to have a stricter attendance policy than normal. For book discussions, 3 no-shows in a rolling 3-month period will prohibit you from attending any other book discussion for 2 months after your last no-show. In order to avoid a no-show, please update your RSVP no later than 10pm the night before a discussion. Thanks for your understanding and cooperation!