IF I LOOK towards my knees right now, this is what I can see: A cosy blanket, a kindly cat, and a very big book. Excellent things for colds. I have just returned from a secret surprise mission to London to visit my parents and have returned with leaden sinuses, croaking throat and drooping eyelids. I am quite annoyed as it is the first cold I've had for two whole years.
Still, I am greatly embroiled in the book which is the quite excellent 800 pages of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. It is an incredible work which entwines scholarly fantasy and 19th century eccentricity beautifully, and can't really be compared to anything else. Susanna Clarke has imagined a whole magical history which is detailed in extraordinary footnotes that encompass humourous and strange tales and references. Since I am only on page 369, I am deliciously savouring the remaining chunk of pages in which I am sure there will be journeyings into the Other Lands, sad love stories and much more mastery of words. I find I am quite compelled to stay in this world.. which is a perfect place for wandering with a snotty nose, woolly ears and a bunged up head.
I leave you with some fine things others have had to say about this book, and hop over here if you'd like to learn more.
"It is a book for a favourite armchair, for readers in patched cardigans, with log fires and buttered muffins."
"It's funny, moving, scary, otherworldly, practical and magical, a journey through light and shadow... as tangled and twisting as old London streets or dark English woods."
"the book darkens as rapidly as the sky on a wintry English day, becoming an increasingly bleak meditation on professional envy, betrayal, revenge, madness and despair."
"A triumph of traditional imaginative storytelling, this is an energetic, engaging and inventive tale that simply kidnaps the lucky reader to participate in a rare experience."
"Many books are to be read, some are to be studied, and a few are meant to be lived in for weeks. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is of this last kind ..."