It’s next in line after I finish Harrow the Ninth.
Huh, Jonathan Strange is so great, I’ve read it several times, despite the length. It’s really not particularly intimidating once you actually get started, in part because it’s quite funny. I’ve been eagerly waiting for a follow-up novel since it came out.
A lovely, strange book that I will revisit for its beautiful descriptions. I was initially surprised that it was so short compared to ‘Mr Norrell…’, but the length is simply perfect.
It must have been a nightmare to write with so many strange capitalisations; but what gorgeous use of English.
Thom, you’re in for a treat! I’ve read Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell out loud twice, once to my ex-wife and once to my son, and I’ve read it myself several times as well. It’s as great as everyone says, whip-smart satire in the realm of Jane Austin, plus a thrilling magical history.
I read all three of her books this year. I thought Piranesi was atmospheric and quite moving, but it’s not an “if you liked Jonathan Strange” type of recommendation. In fact, I suspect the intent was more on the lines of “if you liked Jonathan Strange, good, but here is how it sort of ruined my life”. It reminded me of Kate Bush with her Aerial album, or Stephen King’s various bits of meta weirdness. I felt like I was possibly being subtly rebuked for stomping around Susanna Clark’s mental landscape like a meathead tourist.
Anyway, I like this type of slow-moving “ambient” SF (like the Helliconia and Earthsea books), and there should be more of it.
I literally just finished it a couple of hours ago. It’s stupendous!
I found it to be the best book I have read in years. Spouse agrees. I’m a sucker for most stories with an emphasis on place and atmosphere (excluding the gothic), and what a brilliant example it is! I was worried when it started solving some of the mystery, but that’s a good speculative fiction story, too.
Interestingly, neither of us could get through JS&MN. The people were all too nasty from the start. I was bummed, because, as an Austenite, I have read a lot of history of the period.
I completely agree and have also read it several times. For me, apart from it being funny, it’s also a fun read. I read Piranesi when it came out, and I did enjoy it, but it’s not fun in the way of JS & MN. If you liked JS & MN then I would recommend Piranesi to you, but it’s not a sequel or even a follow-up. It’s a whole 'nother thing- strange and other-worldly, but nothing like faerie.
i’m looking forward to reading this - sounds like Piranesi is living (or is imprisoned) in his own Memory Palace.
Well, it’s definitely a follow-up in the sense that JS & MN was her first novel, and this is her second. I wasn’t really expecting any more of a connection between the two than that, even though most of her short story work was in a similar vein to JS & MN.
Yes, I took The Ladies of Grace Adieu to be basically a collection of unused footnotes from Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, rather than part 2 of an ongoing franchise.
I thought I mentioned it here recently, but it must have been another thread, but anyhoo I can recommend Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees for anyone who wanted to stay in a similar groove after reading Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.
Until you mentioned it, I hadn’t thought of the similarities, but they both share a protagonist who’s not sure what’s going on, and some other stuff I won’t spoil.
I did find Harrow The Ninth pretty confusing until I read it a second time.
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