by Susanna Clarke
Whew! Finished at last. Seems like I spent months on this book but it was really only 3 weeks. I read several other books at the same time because I would get a bit tired of JS&MN and needed other outlets.
I enjoyed the basic story involving the two magicians, the unnamed slave, the gentleman with the silvery hair and the two enchanted women. Much of the groundwork held my interest, but there was just too much. I think the book would have been totally wonderful if some of it had been left out.
I came to a vivid realization that England has a wonderful history steeped in magic. We don't have that in the young country of America. One review I read on JS&MN talked about the mythological references. I probably missed most of that because I don't have a good background in myths. Because of this book, I have an increased interest and that's a good thing.
I appreciated the history and enjoyed this reference to the London servants making fun of some imported servants brought in from Northern England. "...the used words like goosegogs, narrow-grass, betty-cat and battle-twigs, when they should have said gooseberries, asparagus, she-cat and earwigs."
At one point Strange gave Norrell a list of books he wanted to borrow from Norrell's library. "It was not a list to delight Mr Norrell's soul. It was full of first thoughts crossed-out, second thoughts crossed-out and third thoughts put in at angles and made to wriggle around other words that were in the way."
And this commentary on arguments between a married couple.
In the end is it not futile to try and follow the course of a quarrel between husband and wife? Such a conversation is sure to meander more than any other. It draws in tributary arguments and grievances from years before - all quite incomprehensible to any but the two people they concern most nearly. Neither party is ever proved right or wrong in such a case, or, if they are, what does it signify?"