Tuesday 18 August 2015

Strange and Norrell post-audiobook update

I have recently been blogging about the fantasy novel Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke


The story so far is that I read it about three months ago and thought it was one of the best books I have ever read; but of course I had not re-read it.

So, over the past month I have been listening to the audiobook version - so this was the big test...

The verdict: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is one of the best books I have ever read.

I don't have anything critical to say about it - I just love this book.

Note: What amazes me is that such a good book has been written nowadays, and by somebody the same age as me. I didn't think it was possible - but it was.

BTW the Audiobook is excellent - although I would have preferred that the story was not interrupted by the footnotes (truly wonderful although the footnotes are). I think it may be possible to choose whether or not to have the foootnotes read-out during the story, or afterwards - if you have the CD audiobook - but I had a downloaded version which lacked this choice.  


Anonymous said...

I read it on your recommendation. Complete, strange, and compelling unlike other modern fiction. However, found the BBC series much too dark. Terry Pratchett's "Lords and Ladies" picks up the malice and superficiality of the fairies too so me assume the characteristic is part of English folklore.

In an entirely different vein, I was caught powerfully off-guard by Jane Gardam's recent trilogy about the Hong Kong solicitor, "Old Filth." Not especially Christian-compatible(nor contradictory), but full of authentic life and compassion.


Bruce Charlton said...

@dilys - I agree about the BBC TV series. The book sparkles with wit, throughout; the TV series was leaden.

The book is easy to follow; the TV series incomprehensible; the book's plotting is intricate and as perfect as anything I have seen; the TV series made the fatal error of changing rather than simplifying the plot, resulting in rambling incoherence.

But a TV series is an intrinsically lower art form than a novel, and when a novel is really good, a TV series cannot possibly get near to its quality - even when the novel is treated with respect and the adaptation done with skill.

I don't think there are any real exceptions to this - whenever the TV series is regarded as 'better than the book' it is because the book is not rated very highly, or the person making the comment does not much enjoy the book.

Still, I am grateful to the TV series for bringing the book to my attention - the first episode (I came into the room when it was already underway, and not knowing anything about what I was watching) was probably the best of the series; good enough to induce me to read the book.

Mike K said...

Curious what do you think of "Game of Thrones"?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Mike - It does not appeal - too much rape and torture...