Give as a Gift

Send this book as a Gift!

Book Rating (187)

Narrator Rating (7)

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: A Novel

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Susanna Clarke

Narrated By: Simon Prebble

Publisher: Macmillan Audio

Date: November 2004

Duration: 32 hours 0 minutes

Summary:

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.

Genres:

  • Christina Lewis

    As others have said, sometimes very slow going. Occasionally I wondered if I wanted to continue. But I'm glad that I did. It doesn't end with a bang or even have many overly exciting moments. It feels more like a good friend chatting about their week. Sometimes they go on about stuff and you start to glaze over, but, for the most part, you're interested in what they have to say because you care for them and you're enjoying just spending time with them over a cup of tea.

  • Sue Dabe

    This is a very slow going novel. I keep listening hoping for a plot twist or for the plot to become stronger and instead I am disappointed. I play this book and I am asleep with in 15 minutes.

  • AMBWilson

    Ultimately I liked this book quite a lot, even though it is clearly not a book that will please everyone. I almost gave up from the dreary mundanity of the first quarter of it. Halfway through, though, I found I was looking forward to finding out what happened next, and I have to say I was thoroughly engaged going into the final quarter. It's a a book that builds very ponderously, but steadily, snowballing until you find that ultimately there were reasons for going into the little details that seemed only to drag the story down at first. If you're still with this book after the first 13 discs, expect to be glad you did stick with it.

  • AMBWilson

    Ultimately I liked this book quite a lot, even though it is clearly not a book that will please everyone. I almost gave up from the dreary mundanity of the first quarter of it. Halfway through, though, I found I was looking forward to finding out what happened next, and I have to say I was thoroughly engaged going into the final quarter. It's a a book that builds very ponderously, but steadily, snowballing until you find that ultimately there were reasons for going into the little details that seemed only to drag the story down at first. If you're still with this book after the first 13 discs, expect to be glad you did stick with it.

  • Julie

    I was very excited to get this book. It sounded so intriguing - Yorkshire (where I am from), witchcraft, suspense...unfortunately I couldn't get past the third cd. Big disappointment.

  • Lilli

    Reading over these reviews shows how utterly personal one's response to a book is. Go ahead and say why it didn't work for you, but don't tell people it's boring and not to bother with it! It deserves more credit than that. I loved this novel. It's an incredibly intricate work that harkens back in style to great 19th century fiction. True, it's slow to get going, but it really takes off after a certain amount of groundwork, and ends up galloping to an exciting finish. I became totally involved and found it entertaining, very funny, and moving. I am a slow reader and know that if I had tried to tackle it in print I would never have gotten into it, but Simon Prebble's narration is incredible; he so perfectly renders all the characters, whether male, female, human, faerie, heroic, dastardly, or utterly eccentric. It's rich in atmosphere, mystery, and incredibly vivid characters. If you're curious about it, give it a try and find out for yourself.

  • florinda

    Perhaps I would have found the book interesting and engaging had I "stuck with it", but I found the narrative repleat with verbage that (at the beginning stage of the book anyway) makes it drag on seemingly without a point and without any apparent future reward to unfolding plot. Description without apparent direction is like reading a phone directory -- for a book of this genre it is tedium beyond tolerability. Somewhere in the beginning of a mystery book, the reader must be given a clue to plot and circumstance. Had I been reading this book I would have put it down at page 5 -- mind you I was listening to the audio book and (even with Simon Prebble's excellent audio acting), I couldn't listen past the first CD.

  • Jo

    Although this book was written well enough, it tended to go around in circles without building any kind of anticipation or excitement. It should have been edited down somewhat to make it a better book. Not my favorite. Jo

  • Tim M

    Hard to believe a novel of such detail would translate well to audiobook yet it does. I've seen the paperbook so I knew what I was getting into time-wise but didn't expect such a level of detail in Clarke's background due diligence. Really quite amazing. Clarke is either one of the most interesting people you would meet or a border freak. Either way, I listened to the last portion having thoroughly enjoyed the book. I very much recommended particularly if you have a penchant for detail.

  • Lorna

    If you like Jane Austen and magic, you'll love this book. It is long (a plus to me), well read (the reader has numerous voices and a nice ironical emphasis on phrases), and is simply highly amusing. There is a lot of detail and description interspersed with numerous footnotes enurmerating the history of "English Magic". I found the pace, conversations, and detail delightful - my husband said it needed more fast action. It is set in the Regency period of England and creates a whole new history of England. The story takes you from the countrysides of England to London where you meet George the 3rd, on to Spain with the Duke of Wellington, and then Italy with Lord Byron. It is a whole new history of England that seamlessly intersperses the historical chronicles of the magical Raven King with the throughly "modern" pursuit of magic in the sophisticated 19th century England.