Over at Crooked Timber, they are hosting a seminar on Susanna Clarke’s novel Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (book via Amazon.fr). The link goes to the introductory post, from which you can jump to individual articles, including one from the author.
It must be the very wintry autumn we’ve been having here in Paris that has me thrown more seriously into novels and sustained reading in general than I usually am. Be that as it may, I’m about a third way through with JS&MN, and it’s an intriguing, compelling book. It isn’t easy to classify, even beyond the question whether or not it’s “fantasy”. Even though the it is set in the early 19th century, I’m leaning more and more towards the opinion that it is not a historical novel: Clarke doesn’t borrow so much the England of the epoch she purports to describe, but the Victorian novel’s take on this England.
Belle Waring takes up the question that has been bugging me — who is this footnote-loving, scholarly, and most probably female narrator? — and Susanna Clarke replies in the fashion of an author: providing fascinating insight, but leaving the question ultimately open.