Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell author to return after 16-year gap
September 30, 2019 5:08 AM   Subscribe

 
oh joy!
posted by mwhybark at 5:12 AM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


This is Very Good news.
posted by jquinby at 5:13 AM on September 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


Agog.
posted by Segundus at 5:14 AM on September 30, 2019


I really liked Jonathan Strange, and I've been really captivated by Piranesi's carceri drawings since learning about them in school, so this combo looks to be quite dangerous for me.
posted by LionIndex at 5:19 AM on September 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


Oh yes. Please.
posted by lordrunningclam at 5:23 AM on September 30, 2019


Oh my, yes!!!
posted by hwestiii at 5:25 AM on September 30, 2019


Gimme.
posted by seyirci at 5:44 AM on September 30, 2019


Huzzah!
posted by NoMich at 5:49 AM on September 30, 2019


I actually modified my Nook years ago to display the carceri drawings when idle. I may have even gotten the idea from Metafilter.

It has honestly been so long that I don't really remember whether I liked Jonathan Strange or not. Guess that means I need to reread it.
posted by selfnoise at 6:20 AM on September 30, 2019


Piranesi is such an easy artist to get lost in, full of impossible, inhuman architectures that seem to presage Escher without being quite as obviously tricksy...real impossible places, they feel like. Clarke would be a great writer to capture that feeling of troublesome architecture, and I'm really looking forward to this!
posted by mittens at 6:22 AM on September 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


TIL that Susanna Clarke is publishing a new book (woohoo!!) and also about the existence of Giovanni Piranesi.

I only wish that 'September 2020' had been, say, 'October 2019' instead...can't wait!
posted by andrewesque at 6:25 AM on September 30, 2019 [6 favorites]


Piranesi is such an easy artist to get lost in, full of impossible, inhuman architectures that seem to presage Escher without being quite as obviously tricksy...real impossible places, they feel like. Clarke would be a great writer to capture that feeling of troublesome architecture, and I'm really looking forward to this!
posted by mittens at 6:22 AM on September 30 [+] [!]


It reminds me a lot of the King's Roads in JS&MN, a concept which I really loved, as well as House of Leaves etc.
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 6:32 AM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


Although, given the weird tangle that is the third quarter of JS&MN, it’s not impossible that this book will be literally infinite and impossible to finish, abandon, or escape.

I guess that’s fitting for 2020.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:35 AM on September 30, 2019 [9 favorites]


Ooh I am excited. And a two-book deal sounds Very Promising. I guess I have a year to learn about the carceri drawings.
posted by jeather at 7:05 AM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


Heck Yes!
posted by djrock3k at 7:26 AM on September 30, 2019


The bridge in her story Tom Brightwind is copied from Piranesi, of course.
posted by Segundus at 7:35 AM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


As the article itself notes, on some level it's only a 14-year gap, due to the publication of The Ladies of Grace Adieu in 2006, but I didn't love that collection so I guess I'll allow it.
posted by one for the books at 7:35 AM on September 30, 2019


Oh man, I loved Ladies of Grace Adieu, and yes I remembered Piranesi from that one story so this is happy news for me also.

JS&MN is so long that I don't re-read it as much as other books; it's a commitment; I wonder if this will be another giant doorstop or a more manageable size?
posted by emjaybee at 7:57 AM on September 30, 2019


Oh my goodness! I've only read Strange and Norrell the once. It's one of the best books I've ever read, but it's slow as dirt and the faux-Regency style it's written in was hard for me to get through the first time, and rereading it has proven impossible with the smaller reserves of mental energy I have as an adult. But she's a beautiful writer, and if this has her talent and is also somewhat more readable without the Edwardian style, I'll be fucking thrilled.
posted by Caduceus at 8:10 AM on September 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


Oooh! I liked JS&MR, but I think I ran into some of the same problems Caduceus did; the style required some work and up until recently, I did not have the mental space for that work. I remember I loved the...flavour of the book, lets say, and the weird and wonderful world.
I feel like this will ping with me more though, the magic of a horrifying, weird, unexpected landscape. It'll be a luscious world to go and play in for awhile.

Also I should really re-read JS&MR, I have way more cultural context for it now.
posted by kalimac at 8:14 AM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


Woo hoo!! We already have a vacation in the works for September/October 2020, and I now know what book I'm going to bring. Even if, like JS&MN, it probably won't fit in the overhead compartment of the airplane. I'm not sure if it would even qualify as a legal carry-on.
posted by Gray Duck at 8:38 AM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


This is very exciting
posted by PMdixon at 8:39 AM on September 30, 2019


woohoo I am excite!!!
posted by supermedusa at 8:49 AM on September 30, 2019


I'm team BRING ON THE DOORSTOP!!
posted by supermedusa at 8:52 AM on September 30, 2019 [8 favorites]


YESSSS!!!

And man I am sad that I forgot that right now is September 2019, not September 2020.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:59 AM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


I recently re-read Jonathon Strange & Mr Norrell & found it a very odd experience. I discovered that I could not remember a single thing that happened in it from my first reading. Her prose is really, really good so the experience of actually reading it was as pleasurable as I vaguely remembered it being the first time, but I don’t think I could recount the plot to you now, even after a second reading.

I can’t decide whether this is a knock against the book(s) or not.
posted by pharm at 9:23 AM on September 30, 2019 [7 favorites]


That high-pitched sound you hear is my brain squealing in delight.

Especially since I have an ebook reader now, so I won't have to carry this one around with me everywhere I go for 6 weeks.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:24 AM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


I initially thought this had something to do with House of Leaves, but I guess that's just my frame of reference for impossible house spaces. The description of the upcoming book sounds intriguing, I'll add this to my list.
posted by GoblinHoney at 9:30 AM on September 30, 2019


Yay! Magic magic magic. I’m so excited for this.
posted by troutontitan at 9:36 AM on September 30, 2019


I loved JS&MN, but I found The Ladies of Grace Adieu disappointing. I hope she's back up to speed here.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:47 AM on September 30, 2019


I did find the style took work, but I don't think the book is slow, exactly, it's like a rolling stone -- starts out slower but speeds up as you go further, I saved it for Christmas when it came out and by the last third just refused to do anything until I finished it. Anyways by now I have reread the book (including listening to it as I go to sleep) so often, but I still get that feeling of increasing urgency. I should reread Ladies, though I am sad that JS&MN world from the less privileged end (long promised) isn't out, though perhaps that will be book 2, or maybe book 2 will be something else.
posted by jeather at 10:29 AM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


What with The Mirror and the Light coming out in the spring, 2020 is gonna be boss.
posted by praemunire at 10:58 AM on September 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


Count me as another person who found that the style took some real work to settle into reading. I was also approximately 5000% more interested in the Raven King than anything going on with Jonathan Strange or Mr. Norrell; my Goodreads review of the book was "I really liked it, but I also kind of deeply resent it at the same time." However, more difficult than even getting accustomed to the writing style was physically reading the book in hardcover. Actively difficult to find a comfortable reading position! Causing genuine pain to my wrists to hold it up! If ever there was a book to read on your almost certainly lighter phone or ereader or tablet, it's that one.

Anyway, the premise of the new book sounds very interesting! I'll just make sure to get an ebook this time, if it's as much of a brick as JS&MN.
posted by yasaman at 11:21 AM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


Damn. My mom and I read the Jonathan Strange et al at roughly the same time. We bonded over it and enjoyed watching the series together.

Of course it's just another thing to regret that she's not here for. I'll still enjoy it, I'm sure. Perhaps I'll just think about the kind of conversations we would have about it.
posted by lumpenprole at 11:59 AM on September 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


Piranesi is an excellent choice - his work was actually one of the foundations of the Gothic novel in England. So the story goes, Horace Walpole was browsing the Carceri d'Invenzione one night, specifically the 8th plate, which features giant helmets lining an enormous staircase. That night, Walpole had a dream about a giant helmet crushing a person beneath its bulk - and that became the first scene of The Castle of Otranto, the first English Gothic novel.

Plate 14 even has an Escher-style impossible object, if you look at how the pillars on the left and centre join at the top and at the bottom of the image. Given Piranesi's architectural expertise, that had to be deliberate.
posted by Paragon at 12:46 PM on September 30, 2019 [5 favorites]


Yes for this.
posted by TrishaU at 3:02 PM on September 30, 2019


Although, given the weird tangle that is the third quarter of JS&MN, it’s not impossible that this book will be literally infinite and impossible to finish, abandon, or escape.

I liked JS&MN a lot but it felt to me like a good chunk of the second half owed a lot to The Third Policeman which is a brilliant mobius strip of a book.

The fantastical elements of the man with the thistledown hair are drawn straight from Irish mythology and folk tradition btw for anyone who didnt know.
posted by fshgrl at 4:26 PM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


Some years before Clarke published JS&MN, I read a story of hers in an anthology and mentioned how much I loved it to someone who had been involved with the anthology, and that person gave me her email address and said she was working on something longer and would love the encouragement, and they thought we’d really get along.

Too shy to “cold call” a possible new friend, I never wrote to her. I’ve been kicking myself ever since. Love JS&MN (the “something longer” she had been working on at the time), wish her all the success in the world, and am incredibly excited for her new book!
posted by verbminx at 6:50 PM on September 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


I can recommend the audiobook version of JS&MN too. It actually helped me get through the book, because otherwise I'd get distracted from the main story by those long and involved footnotes. It appears the narrator just plops them in the middle of the text(or possibly at a good stopping point like the end of a sentence), and then jumps back where he was without a hitch. (Note: I've never actually read along in the printed version, so i may be wrong here.)

I liked most of The Ladies of Grace Adieu too.

I'm VERY excited for more from her!
posted by Archer25 at 7:17 PM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


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