While greatly enhanced by my new SunPass - why didn't I buy one of these things months ago? - my ride to work this morning seemed dull and lifeless (not an easy thing when you're heading down I-95 just past rush hour). Why was I so bereft? Last night I finished the audiobook of Susanna Clark's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, and I miss it already.
Yes, I did complain a bit about the Duke of Wellington bits drawing on a bit too long. I got a little antsy with the war; I desperately wanted to know where the story was going. But I have to say I loved the last few hundred pages and, because I was listening in my car, I hated to get out when I reached my destination.
Herald film critic Rene Rodriguez - you know, the guy who sends me to all those really bad movies - has long been a champion of this book; he's one of the reasons I finally read it. His theory is that it's better to actually read Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, because the language and the story - about two magicians bringing magic back to England during the Napoleonic wars - are such pleasures. In my mind it's the perfect audiobook, with a reader (the fantastic Simon Prebble) so precise you can tell which of the large cast is talking just by the distinct voices he uses. Also, his reading of the footnotes as they occur makes the text flow effortlessly; I always hate stopping to read a footnote at the bottom of the page.
In any case, I crave a sequel.