Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

The year is 1806. The British are fighting Napoleon's French army. And magic is long gone from England. The only society of magicians in York is purely theoretical and never so much as contemplated performing any magic. Then the society stumbles upon the fussy, bookish, reclusive Gilbert Norrell, who proves to them he is the only practicing magician left in England when he causes all the statues in the York Cathedral to burst into song.
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Propelled to fame by what Norrell considers rather modest magic, he is soon called upon to aid the British government against the French and to resurrect the deceased bride of a cabinet minister -- an act which prompts the appearance of a strange gentleman from the land of Faery who begins laying a plot for the downfall of English magic.

Norrell is soon displaced from his position of notoriety by the arrival of Jonathan Strange, a young and eager upstart with a gift for practical magic. Strange and his young wife, Arabella, are beautiful, intelligent, and quickly popular in York society. Norrell takes Strange on as a pupil, hoping to control Strange's access to magical knowledge.

However, the day comes when young Mr. Strange is ready to branch out as an independent magician, leading to a rivalry between Strange and Norrell that increases along with the threat from the land of Faery. Finally, when tragedy befalls Jonathan, he and Mr. Norrell must learn to set aside their differences and work together to save Britain.
The review of this Book prepared by Jennifer Martin-Romme

Chapter Analysis of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 10%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 50%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 20% Tone of book    -   cynical or dry-wit FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   fantasy story on current Earth Political power play    -   Yes Political plotlets    -   saving govt/kingdom from external overthrow Magical Beings/Mental/Magical/Powers    -   Yes magical powers:    -   magical powers (general) Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   mage/magician Age:    -   60's-90's If magical mental powers:    -   can cast many different spells Really unusual traits?    -   Super genius


Earth setting:    -   19th century Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths How much dialogue?    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Susanna Clarke Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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