Susanna Clarke

Susanna Clarke is a genius. Over the last 12 years or so, she's been working on a book called Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. It's set in Victorian England, written in Austenian prose, pretty slowly paced, and is over a thousand pages long. It's also BookSense's adult fiction book of the year, the winner of the Locus Award for a first novel, the 2005 World Fantasy Award, the 2005 Hugo Award for best novel and Time Magazine's #1 Book of 2004. The book isn't for everyone; the length and style can be offputting for those not used to it (or who don't think that it's just cool), but in my opinion, it's on a very short list of the best fantasy books ever written, right up there with The Lord of the Rings, The Once and Future King, and Lud-in-the-Mist. It's flat out awe inspiring. (Click on image for author interviews, including one on her plans for the sequel!) JS&MN is her first novel, but Clarke's also penned 12 or so short stories, many of which you can track down in Ellen Datlow and Terry Windling's award-winning fantasy anthologies. The best of these that I've read is Mr Simonelli, or The Fairy Widower, which appeared in Black Heart, Ivory Bones. Another excelent one is The Duke of Wellington Misplaces his Horse, which is especially neat because it ties into her friend Neil Gaiman's story Stardust, which is also a great read if you liked JS&MN.


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