Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell v Exploding Rainbows

Book: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
Author: Susanna Clarke
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Published: 2004

This is a book where you will need to be willing to appreciate the writing style as much as anything else. It is written in the style of a piece of 18th century high literary fiction, but with the proviso that the 19th century of this novel involves a world in which magic has existed, and will do again.

English magic, the prim and proper form of magic, has gradually faded from memory until the only ones referring to themselves as magicians are puffed up aristocrats who couldn’t tell a real faery from a frog. That is until the hitherto reclusive Mr Norell decides to make himself known, for he is the real deal and is determined that English magic shall be practised once more. But only by him.

When the upstart Jonathan Strange then starts practicing the real thing, a rivalry begins which serves as the major conflict for a sprawling epic reimagining of mid to late Georgian England and how the introduction of magic might have influenced certain events, notably the Napoleonic wars.

Throw in some malevolent and poorly understood Fae, and you have a book like no other I can really think of. It is massive and magnificent.

Beer: Exploding Rainbows
Brewery: Fuerst Wiacek
Style: IPA
Strength: 6.8%

Very creamy head, almost like a soft meringue. A faint hint of pine freshness lies under a hop tier IPA. German brewer which tells a bit in its influences.

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