Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

Audiobook CD - 2004
Average Rating:
Rate this:

The national bestseller is now available on audio
English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory.

But at Hurtfew Abbey in Yorkshire, the rich, reclusive Mr Norrell has assembled a wonderful library of lost and forgotten books from England's magical past and regained some of the powers of England's magicians. He goes to London and raises a beautiful young woman from the dead. Soon he is lending his help to the government in the war against Napoleon Bonaparte, creating ghostly fleets of rain-ships to confuse and alarm the French.

All goes well until a rival magician appears. Jonathan Strange is handsome, charming, and talkative-the very opposite of Mr Norrell. Strange thinks nothing of enduring the rigors of campaigning with Wellington's army and doing magic on battlefields. Astonished to find another practicing magician, Mr Norrell accepts Strange as a pupil. But it soon becomes clear that their ideas of what English magic ought to be are very different. For Mr Norrell, their power is something to be cautiously controlled, while Jonathan Strange will always be attracted to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic. He becomes fascinated by the ancient, shadowy figure of the Raven King, a child taken by fairies who became king of both England and Faerie, and the most legendary magician of all. Eventually Strange's heedless pursuit of long-forgotten magic threatens to destroy not only his partnership with Norrell, but everything that he holds dear.

Sophisticated, witty, and ingeniously convincing, Susanna Clarke's magisterial novel weaves magic into a flawlessly detailed vision of historical England. She has created a world so thoroughly enchanting that eight hundred pages leave readers longing for more.

Elegant, witty, and flawlessly detailed, "Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell" is the breakout smash of the fall--a magisterial first novel that draws readers into Susanna Clarke's fantastic and utterly convincing vision of a past world.

Publisher: New York : Audio Renaissance/Bloomsbury Publishing, p2004
ISBN: 9781593977412
Branch Call Number: SCD FICTION Clarke
Characteristics: 26 sound discs (32 hr.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in
Additional Contributors: Prebble, Simon


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Dec 16, 2015

Some say this book is sort of a Harry Potter for adults. Perhaps, but that misses the point. A better description is an extended Sherlock Holmes mystery written by a Conan-Doyle on goof-weed ... lol ..You've probably never read a book like this before. Ambiguities abound. Even the characters often don't understand what is happening. I liked that the magic doesn't always go as planned, or there's unintended consequences. Like when Strange is commissioned to upright a listing British Navy ship that has run aground on a sand bar. He's successful in digging the ship out and re-floating it, saving the lives of the crew; but then other ship's officers using the same channel begin to complain that where he's placed all that sand he dug up has created new and uncharted sand bars they are now running into. These people are hard to please. There's 3 basic plot themes, derived from well known stories: The Faustian Bargain; Orpheus' rescue of Eurydice from Hades; and Faerie Mythology per Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream". This isn't a book where you'll likely learn something that will help you in your present situation. Instead, think of it as endlessly fascinating entertainment. Especially so if you have a bent for magic.

Jun 28, 2015

Magical, mystical, wonderfully told. This is like Harry Potter for adults because the world that Clarke portrays is so real and seamless. Magic and "normality" blend perfectly.
The footnotes are a wonderful way of telling the reader the history, tales, fables and lives of magicians of ancient times. It brings the past into the current story.
I read the paper book years ago and now listened to the audio. Both are great. The footnotes are read here in their entirety and the narration is wonderful.

Jun 29, 2011

excellent book, most enjoyable reading


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at OPL

To Top