portsmouth beach


‘Mr Norrell conjures ships out of rain, Jonathan Strange makes the beach at Portsmouth turn into sand horses to right a ship that’s listing on to its side. There are Towers of Darkness and flocks of ravens but really, the magic is often sort of in the corner of one’s eye. Acts of magic that we’re hearing about, as it were offstage, to create a sense that this is authentic and that you can believe it. Something that Susanna Clarke does very cleverly in the novel actually is to create the sense that these things are a part of our world and cleverly by writing footnotes all over the place.’ Bertie Carvel on Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell