Why so quiet lately? My nose has been buried in Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, on of my own damn books. Can you believe it?!
This tome of a book has sat on my bookshelf for years, passed by again and again by shiny library books. I like to tote my books around with me and read them everywhere. At 781 pages, this book is hefty and special provisions needed to be made to take it to work or read it in bed.
I'll admit that the first bit was a slog. There is a long beginning before you meet Jonathan Strange. Then the story becomes engaging. Its the story of the only two magicians in England right around the Battle of Waterloo. The story is deliberate and well-paced. I didn't race through this novel; I savored it.
Particularly wonderful is the interesting little bits of tales you get when a few people under an enchantment try to speak of their enchantment. Instead of saying what they mean, they open their mouths and stories come out - about bird herders or beer brewed from anger. I would love a book of nothing but these oddities.
I also loved the many footnotes throughout the story, and the complicated relationship between the two magicians. They are rather at odds with eachother in temperment, but, being the only practising magicians, there's also an interesting comradeship.
This really is a treat of a book, and I give it an 8.5.