Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell was one of those books that I made myself wait to read. In addition to the obligatory ten pages of sickeningly lavish literary praise, it comes with the recommendations of real people I know, who have Taste. By which I mean, they like books I like, and/or have actual opinions about books, beyond 'it was good'.
Yet again, I'm left a bit lost. Maybe I read it at the wrong time or in the wrong frame of mind. I would have devoted ample days to its reading if it compelled me in the slightest. Instead, it took months and essentially turned me off reading for its duration. I waited to be pulled in and kept forcing myself to keep going, thinking that having waited so long to finally let myself read it, this book would at least hold my attention. It just never did. It was at times like pulling teeth; what would have been humourous passages were I not resentful of making myself read it, just pissed me off.
It's well written, wordy and I could never come close to something so perfect, in that way. It was just bloody long, and kind of .. lacking the best of both fantasy and "literary fiction", I suppose. I don't even know what I mean by that, except that as a reader of both it missed both marks, and irritatingly so.
The last 100 pages were as gruelling as the former 900, but I did them quickly to finally put it to rest. Since finishing it, I've read 3 books and been unable to draw myself away from my kindle and every bookshop I come across on this holiday. I don't recall having been to gratified to finish a book and feel free enough to get back to loving books and reading again.
So, a conflicted review. It was great. I just kind of hated it. There are enough plot summaries everywhere else for me to avoid going there. On to smaller and better things.