Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, part 7

By Susanna Clarke

Book Cover: Strand & NorrellSo, last episode! I’m running a little late with this one since I was on vacation last weekend, but better late than never, right? I thought about never, but just couldn’t quite bring myself to leave it hanging. The conclusion in the tv show was very satisfying, but the book conclusion was particularly gripping, I thought. Here are all the final spoilers in a particularly long post, I’m afraid, since a whole lot happened at the end. Continue reading

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, part 5

By Susanna Clarke

Book Cover: Strand & NorrellAlright, I am in Volume III now – titled “John Uskglass” (the mundane name for the Raven King, remember). I am now wholeheartedly enjoying reading the book, but am not quite enjoying trying to recap all the characters and events. I am about two-thirds of the way through the book (Chapters 45-52), and so much craziness is happening now that I’m in awe of the screenwriters. They are practically having to rewrite huge chunks of the book in order to fit it into the seven episodes. Anyway, here’s part 5, with spoilers:

Continue reading

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, part 4

By Susanna Clarke

Book Cover: Strand & NorrellSo, I reached the halfway point (Chapters 32-44, roughly translating to Episode 4 in the show) and things are going downhill fast. (Plot-wise, things are going downhill; the pacing is actually quite speedy which is a relief after the slow start.)

I believe I have found my purpose for these recaps, however! Out of a poll of three (Kinsey, my dad, and someone that Rebecca follows on LiveJournal), all three said that they had read this years ago but barely remember it. I also struggle to remember exactly what happened in the tv show from week to week, though I thought that might be due to reading the book at the same time. So since this book doesn’t seem to have much sticking power, so this can stand as a rudimentary refresher (with spoilers, of course). Continue reading

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, part 2

By Susanna Clarke

Book Cover: Strand & NorrellI’ve realized now that I’d inadvertently picked the perfect book for my first live-blogging—The Shining has three characters and almost nothing happens. It makes for very concise recaps. Atlas Shrugged was a complete mess, of course, and now I’m struggling with the various characters and plot threads in Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, as well.

I have (mostly) stopped sulking over the size of this brick of a book, and am starting to appreciate the absurd humor of all the side diversions (though they do make it hard to figure out what will be pertinent later in the story – I have even more appreciation for the script writers of the television show now). I think part of my problem was that I was expecting what it seemed to be at first glance – a historical fiction with magic and adventure – but now I think that it is really more of a satire of the different social circles of high society, military, and academia, with the magic providing a distance with which to skewer them. Let’s dive right into Episode 2/Chapter 10-22, with spoilers: Continue reading

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, part 1

By Susanna Clarke

Book Cover: Strand & NorrellAlright, I’m going to try to use the new BBC miniseries as a motivator to get through this book. I’ve tried a couple of times already, and never got past the first chapter. I was particularly excited about the miniseries, since I figured I’d just watch it and never read the book. But now it is leaving me with questions that I figured the book would probably answer. As an added motivator, I’m going to attempt to semi-live blog my progress, but even though this damn book is nearly as long as Atlas Shrugged, I’m going to stick to the seven-part schedule dictated by the mini-series, so hopefully not bog us all down too badly.

Also, I’m having to play catch-up a bit, since we are already in the second week. So here’s Episode 1/Chapters 1-9 with the caution that this is a recap, not a review, so spoilers everywhere: Continue reading