The New Republic’s “Pulps” feature has usually been an excuse to read a pop culture bestseller and psychoanalyze the general reading public; sort of pop culture as tea leaves. For the most part this has mean bad literature but interesting theorizing. This week, however, they have stumbled upon a book worthy of its buzz: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell By Susanna Clarke. Sacha Zimmerman is positively bubbly about the work:
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is an exceptional work. It is thoughtful and irrepressibly imaginative. At a staggering near-800 pages, I never once felt bored or overwhelmed. But Clarke is demanding: She engenders a subtle and refined depth through symbols and broad themes that challenge societal constructs at every turn. The novel’s literary triumph is as significant as the epic plot. In other words, this is no ordinary pulp.
Zimmerman almost convinces me to take up this much talked about work. But I will admit that the prospect of reading a 800 page book right now is just too much. Maybe when I have made a dent in my current TBR pile I can summon the energy to tackle this one, but for now I will have to pass despite all the buzz.