A Blog Mainly About Food

If by "mainly" you mean "sometimes"

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Childermass

So, why did I stay home from work on Monday? Was it because I was hungover? Was I exhausted from the holidays with the family? Was I feeling ill, did I have a job interview, were there important errands to be run?

Nope. I stayed home so I could finish Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Sure, I did some other things--cleaned, bought a ladder, did some misc. grocery shopping. But the prime reason was that I wanted to finish the book. Which I did, around 4:45 yesterday afternoon.

If you haven't picked it up, and are in to pseudo-realist fantasy, go get it, like now. I'm not as well-read in fantasy as I am in sci-fi, so I can't lay down comparisons the way other reviews have (I keep reading references to the Baroque Cycle, anyone familiar) but I can echo their praise. But it's as much fantasy as it is a novel about knowledge, the relationship between master and student, early 19th-century England, and myriad other themes. At times I wondered if Clarke was making some of her extensive and exhaustive references up, or if they were real. The answer--all related to magic are fiction. Its an alternate history, and an amazingly conceived one at that.

Clarke took ten years to write this book and it shows. The book was fantastic and captivating. Best book I've read this year? Maybe. Out of all the new 2004 books I've read, this was at the top.

Next up, something entirely different: Human Capital by Stephen Amidon. Picked up this one at BEA in galley form. I've made some starts at it but have been distracted; the light week means maybe I'll actually get really started this time.