Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is my favorite book right now. It’s a rich and textured account of two magicians at the beginning of the 19th century in England. I recommend it to everyone even though it’s size (just over 1000 pages) might be daunting. I carried the hard cover version around with me in Paris and would recieve all sorts of stares when I whipped it out on the Metro and began reading.

Now it is in my car as an audio book. It’s even better the second time with Simon Prebble, who does wonderful accents and nuances for the different characters, as narrator. Here is an excerpt from the book and my favorite scene.


This scene happens about halfway through the book. It reveals two major characters though one is not really in this scene. If you are planning to read it, you might want to skip this, but if enticement is your game I don’t think it will do any harm to listen. You’ll just know that such and such characters exist and what they are capable of. There are still plenty of things things this scene doesn’t reveal. Arabella is Jonathan Strange’s wife. This cut is 7:51 in length.

The scene:
Jonathan Strange has been asked by relatives to visit the king of England to see if he can not help the king with magic. The king is suffering from madness. Strange’s first maneuver is to take the king out for some fresh air. While they are walking along side a bare wood (it is winter) they hear flute music which is drawing the king deeper into the wood…..

Place the moon at my eyes…. (mp3)

Let me know what you think.

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