JS&MN Page Tracker

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke (no relation—to my knowledge, anyway).

Current page: 353 of 782.

Elapsed time: Three days.

Assessment so far: Very good, very entertaining, very British. I think a lot of American writers tend to come up with a plot and stick close to it (especially in fantasy writing), whereas British authors seem to write with a vague conception of where they’re going but with all sorts of digressions here and there. They wander down the path of the plot and stop to take small side-paths—”What’s this?” “What’s that over there?”—and it isn’t until you finish the book that you (and possibly the writer as well) can see which apparent digressions were important to the plot and which were just pleasant little diversions. That said, Clarke is a very good writer, and these are very good diversions.

  1. I enjoyed JS&MN quite a bit. I’ll be curious to hear your final verdict.

    It does, indeed, meander quite a bit, but the meanderings are enteraining.

  2. @Jake—I’m really enjoying it. Like LOTR or Gormenghast, it’s one of those sprawling British fantasy epics where you just inhabit another world for a few weeks. (Have you read any of Mervyn Peake’s stuff, btw?)

    It’s interesting how I feel more immersed in a world when reading a novel than I ever do when seeing a film. Though I do get that sensation when playing a good RPG, like Knights of the Old Republic or Jade Empire.

  3. Yeah, it is a very immersive sort of work. I actually found myself starting to wonder if any bits of Napoleanic history really played out like that…

    I’ve gotten immersed in a few films, but never to the extent I do with a book, or even an RPG. I think it’s a time thing. A movie has to work really hard to totally immerse me in two hours. Books and RPG’s have a longer time to work on me.

Comments are closed.