Jonathan Strange & Mr Nor­rell Su­sanna Clarke, 2004

SFX - - 20 Greatest Books -

Af­ter Neil Gaiman first read the then un­pub­lished Su­sanna Clarke’s fairy­tale “The Ladies Of Grace Adieu”, he said, “It was like watch­ing some­one sit down to play the pi­ano for the first time and she plays a sonata.” Many had a sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence read­ing her de­but, and so far only, novel: how did a first- time nov­el­ist get to be this good? What­ever the an­swer, Clarke’s take on English magic and mys­ti­cism, set in the Napoleonic era, is vivid and thrilling.

South Africa’s most prom­i­nent SF writer.

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