By Justine Jordan in The Guardian.
Sixteen years ago, Susanna Clarke’s debut novel became a publishing phenomenon. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is an unlikely story of intellectual obsession, set in a Regency England in which the buried powers of English magic are reawoken by two scholar magicians. The prose style mashes together Jane Austen and Charles Dickens for a tale that ranges across all levels of society as well as to fairyland and the battlefields of the Napoleonic war. The pages crawl with footnotes, one of the title characters doesn’t appear for the first 200 pages and at the end the reader is left hanging. It went on to sell 4m copies worldwide and was adapted for a BBC miniseries in 2015.
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