Monday, February 5, 2007

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell - Susanna Clarke

Huge debut novel about two magicians at loggerheads in nineteenth century England. It took me almost six months, off and on, to get through this but that doesn't mean I wsn't enjoying the book. However, I did find that, until about two thirds of the way through, the story was moving forward so slowly that it was easy to put the book aside for days at a time. Towards the end, though, the pace picked up a lot and I was keen to press on to the conclusion. The ending is rather sad and I was sufficiently bound up in the characters by then to feel down for a few days as a consequence. Comparisons with Jane Austen seem to me closer to the mark than those to J.K. Rowling but Clarke lacks Austen's irony.


Beyond the Lone Pine - Mark O'Hanlon

Self-published biography of the writer Malcolm Saville, whose "Lone Pine" books were great favourites of mine as a child. Strictly for fans only (Saville's life was pretty mundane) but, as one of that number, I found it a fascinating read.