Literary Corner Cafe

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Will It Ever End?

I'm now reading the final one hundred pages of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. The last few days, I've been wondering if the book will ever end! The problem isn't the length, it's that the book lacks focus.

Don't get me wrong. Susanna Clarke had a marvelous ides for Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and she has the most fantastic imagination. But the book lacked a throughline, a focus, and there wasn't enough conflict between Strange and Norrell and the very mysterious Raven King.

Of course, the book has an end. I was being facetious. I can pick the book up. I could, if I wanted, read the final page now. But after slogging through a book sorely lacking in focus, I just want this thing to end. After reading almost seven hundred pages, I'm not about to give up now. I hope I can finish tonight, though. Five new books arrived yesterday and I'm anxious to get to them.

I haven't given up on Susanna Clarke, either. I have her collection of short stories, The Ladies of Grace Adieu, and I do expect to enjoy those. I'm also eagerly anticipating the publication of her next novel, and if I'm interested in the subject matter, I'll certainly read that as well.

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