Neil Gaiman on Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

by Rachel Baker on May 3, 2015

Many years ago, I think around 2004 or 2005, I read Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke, and at the time, it was one of the most fun books I’d ever read.

Fast forward many years, and I’ve just seen its being made into a TV show on the BBC; AND, Neil Gaiman has written an article about why he loves the book. Great literary week for a girl like me who enjoyed Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell and most things written by Gaiman.

Neil Gaiman: Why I love Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

In February 2004, to my perplexity and my delight, the mail brought an advance, but finished, copy of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. I took my daughters on holiday to the Cayman Islands, and while they romped and swam in the surf, I was hundreds of years and thousands of miles away, in Regency York and in London and on the continent, experiencing nothing but the purest pleasure, wandering through the words and the things they brought with them, and eventually noticing that the paths and lanes of the story, with its footnotes and its fine phrases, had become a huge road, and it was taking me with it: 782 pages, and I enjoyed every page, and when the book was done I could happily have read 782 more. I loved the things she said and the things she did not say. I loved crabbed Norrell and, less feckless than he seems, Strange, and John Uskglass the Raven King, who is not in the title of the book unless he hides behind the ampersand, but who hovers there anyhow. I loved the supporting players, the footnotes, and the author – she is not, I am convinced, Clarke, but a character in her own right, writing her book closer to Strange and Norrell’s time than our own.

This article was written by: Rachel Baker – Click to follow on Twitter; or you can follow her at The Crafty Veteran on Bloglovin

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