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Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell – Susanna Clarke

June 15, 2007

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I read this right to the last of it’s 1000+ pages and wondered why. I just didn’t get it. The first 500 pages I toiled through…it was interesting enough just not something I cared about. I read it at night, but having put it down after a session I could never remember what happened in the previous chapter when I picked it up again. I then faced a dilemma about whether I should continue, but to be honest the dilemma was not serious. I have never matured enough in my reading habits to be able to put down a book unfinished that I’m not enjoying. I’m not ruthless enough.

So I kept going. The storytelling did improve in the second have, and the final 250 pages were very good. A good tale that was genuinely scary at points.

But finishing was a relief. The bizarre thing was that weighing in at over a thousand pages, the book included probably nearly 100 pages of footnotes detailing a whole back story to the legends it contained. Very quickly I gave up reading them. I couldn’t help but think that whilst Clarke is a very creative and imaginative writer she would do well to get a stronger editor next time.

Tooooo long Susanna.

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