This Spring, the English Department is bringing to our alumni, students, and on and off campus friends a series of book recommendations by faculty. Starting us off is Professor Tim Myers:
Most passionate readers face, at one time or another, the frustration of expressing just how deeply a certain book moved them. I'll quote an anonymous boy from Georgia who said, "I want a story that inhales me." Susanna
Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
did exactly that to me. Part historical novel, part fantasy, part alternative history, Jonathan Strange
features an England of Napoleonic times in which magic exists as an actual science-art, Fairyland is quite—and sometimes horrifyingly—real, and the English drawing room exists cheek by jowl with a fey grove in which corpses hang from the branches. This line is representative: "'Can a magician kill a man by magic?' Lord Wellington asked Strange. Strange frowned. He seemed to dislike the question. 'I suppose a magician might,' he admitted, 'but a gentleman never could.'" But the endless wonders of this book go far beyond that.