I would like to talk -shortly- about this book that i read a few months ago.
I intended to give a nice review on this marvelous piece of literature, but, you know, work, hollydays, time goes on and nothing gets done.
Susanna Clarke wrote here what i would definitely call a masterpiece. Before i try to give you an overview of the story, i have to warn you: it's about magic, but it's nothing like the potter books. it's far more serious.
We're in England, at the very beginning of the 19th century (picture it like that: people are all about good manners, being gentlemen in all kinds of ways, they travel with horse-drawn carriages and there's a war against Napoleon going on).
There are a few gentlemen who belong to the academy of magicians; theoretical magicians, i mean. Because nobody was known to perform practical magic since the disappearance of the great John Uskglass, some centuries ago. Reading books and maintaining a certain aura of respect around them is what the members of the academy are all about, when not arguing about theories.
They don't know yet that two men are subject to propheties saying that magic shall be brought back in the kingdom and risen to change the faith of Europe...
Wether there is a translation of this book in your mother-tongue, you should not care, because you have to read this one in english. It's marvellously written, really. I would say it's a bit hard at first (loads of unusual vocabulary, also containing old english phrases), but one gets used to it. And all participates in drowning you into the 19th century.
The atmosphere is depicted so well that you are there. I often would have wanted a whisky and a pipe, while reading these lines...
This book is about magicians, but fortunately, magic is treated with mystery all around it, so that very few magic 'tricks' happen. But the tension around these important events is built on a solid scenario, with intrigues, political issues, love, poetry and suspense. There is also mention about mythical aspects of english history and symbolism -which i'm fond of-, with black raven, some ancient sacred places with potential powers...
It all fits into a dark but romantic picture of that period in England, with many details connecting it to the real history, and with little sparkles of i-don't-know-what that makes this book so special... maybe magic
Belongs to my top-5 books, probably on the highest degree.
I warmly recommend that you read it !
For quotes and another way of teasing you, see the the official web site
Last edited by bacchus (2007-10-24 10:10:12)