The Library Basement
Reading under ground

Tag Susanna Clark

Readings For October 2014

I finished just one book - a great big book.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clark

Susanna Clark's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell was a break-out award winner which seemed right up my alley. It certainly has its charms, and I had an overall fair impression of the work. Yet there were a few issues which will preclude a recommendation from me.

The main criticism I will level against this novel is its length. I think Clark had a big story to tell, and there is nothing wrong with that (Sanderson reader here!). She even ironically employs multi-page footnotes in the documentary style of prose. This leads to a lot of back story and world building which is charming, but leads to a bit of a long slog.

I feel the amount of exposition and detail ultimately detracts from the finished product. What ends up clocking in at over 1,000 pages in paperback could have been accomplished in about 400. I also feel that the story did not really get started for about 300 pages, which was frustrating.

(Nerd nit pic here: I hate free-energy magic systems.)

I feel like Clark could have broken this up into multiple parts, and the universe of this novel could yet produce some great fantasy storytelling. But this one was just a bit too much for me. LocalWords: Norrell

Categories

Tags