Today’s selection is a bit more fun. I’m a sucker for big fat novels, and I like a little fantasy now and then.
The one thing that’ll trip me up when reading a fantasy novel is when I have to hurdle a bunch of Jabberwocky-sounding names and terms that are hard to pronounce/imagine.* If the first sentence is something like “Snorglatt Qyridsiuyalp sighed, clutching his palwiuz and gieby, and gazed over the Yersib plains of Ywiecxhuuosxcz…” then my eyes glaze over.
Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is conveniently located in a fantasyland in which I’ve spent a substantial amount of readerly time: 19th-century England.
She does the 19th-century British novel thing of creating a village of complex characters — some of whom just happen to be magicians or whatever, and others of whom are based on historical figures. It’s the kind of big fat novel you can get lost in without having to constantly wonder where you are.
I even enjoyed the footnotes!
*It should be noted that I struggle with fat Russian novels for the same reason. So maybe it’s just me.