I was playing Vinculus, a character in the amazing, intriguing and compelling book called Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. A group of 10 of us, all lovers of this 1000 page (if you include the copious footnotes) work of magical fiction, had gathered together to enact, discuss and explore this amazing achievement. Acting out a huge piece of fantasy is not as daunting as it may seem; the same group of people have acted out Tolkien’s work and all of Homer’s, using a three day period to do so. In that time, we eat, dress and sleep the book in question.
Susanna Clarke writes about her invented world with such ease; it’s easy to believe England could really be like this – filled with magic and romance. It has been described as 'Harry Potter for grownups’ but that really does not do this eloquent and momentous work justice, although adults who adored Harry Potter will be impressed with the rich characterization and the great finale to the story.
Clarke has a flair for language, utilising the right words at all the right moments. She chose for her style an emulation of Jane Austin, (including archaic spellings). Some passages made me laugh aloud – Austin was funny, and here is another layer spread upon that ironic wit.
|Ready to dance till dawn|
at the Fairy Ball in the kingdom of Lost Hope