susanna-clark

I was aware that in JS&MN I was writing a back-to-front story, a story with holes in it through which we can catch glimpses of another, secret story being played out. I even keep a similar story in my head as a sort of touchstone of the kind of stories I like to tell. The hour has come but not the man is a Scottish folktale about a kelpie, a sort of water-spirit, who is observed rising up from a false ford in a river and shrieking, “The hour is come but not the man.” This, though very alarming, means nothing to anybody, until a distraught rider is observed haring along the road towards the river. He attempts to drown himself in the river, but is prevented by kindly bystanders who lock him in a church. Whereupon he drowns himself in the font and the water-spirit is satisfied.

Perhaps JS&MN isn’t seen from the wrong side to quite the same extent as the above, but there are whole elements of which our two magicians remain unaware throughout the book—and beyond. Stephen’s travails on behalf of the two women, for example. And Strange and Norrell never really comprehend how far they are tools of John Uskglass. (They grasp a bit of Uskglass’s intentions but not in the way that Vinculus and Childermass do.)

I suppose a more modern way of writing back-to-front stories is to make them mysteries. Thus Great Expectations looks as if it is a picaresque tale of the rise of a young blacksmith, but the plot has a hidden element, glimpsed from time to time; once that hidden element is revealed, everything we thought we knew about the main story is completely changed. Great stuff, if you can manage it.

Susanna Clarke, Women and men; servants and masters; England and the English

Can a magician kill a man by magic?” Lord Wellington asked Strange. Strange frowned. He seemed to dislike the question. “I suppose a magician might,” he admitted, “but a gentleman never would.
—  Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

The Oxford American is proud to announce the release of our 16th annual Southern Music Issue, honoring the musical history of TEXAS. The cover features a stunning portrait of Guy and Susanna Clark taken in 1975 by iconic Nashville photographer Jim McGuire.

Guy Clark’s song “My Favorite Picture of You,” the title track from his Grammy-winning 2013 album, written for his wife after her death in 2012, is a highlight of the CD.

The magazine and accompanying CD compilation also feature Bob Wills, Buddy Holly, Janis Joplin, Ornette Coleman, Billy Joe Shaver, DJ Screw, Willie Nelson, Barbara Lynn, Johnny Winter, and many, many more Texas icons.

More information about the Texas Music Issue is available here:http://www.oxfordamerican.org/articles/issues/latest_issue/

Marc Warren looking magnificent as the gentleman with thistledown hair!

‘Someone was standing in the middle of the room: a tall, handsome person with pale, perfect skin and an immense amount of hair, as pale and shining as thistle-down. His cold, blue eyes glittered and he had long dark eye-brows, which terminated in an upward flourish. He was dressed exactly like any other gentleman, except that his coat was of the brightest green imaginable - the colour of leaves in early summer.’

JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL AND RICHARD ARMITAGE

THERE’S A JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL BBC MINISERIES IN THE WORKS

THERE’S A JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL BBC MINISERIES IN THE WORKS

ONE OF MY FAVORITE BOOKS OF ALL TIME IS GOING TO BE A BBC MINISERIES

FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND SEXY PLEASE CAST RICHARD ARMITAGE AS JOHN USKGLASS

I MEAN COME ON

HE’S PLAYED A LOT OF JOHNS ALREADY

WHAT’S ONE MORE AMIRYT

I WOULDN’T BE OPPOSED TO HIM PLAYING CHILDERMASS INSTEAD OR JONATHAN STRANGE EVEN

HE JUST NEEDS TO HAVE A GOOD ROLE IN THERE SOMEWHERE JFC MY FAVORITE THINGSSSS

BBC PLS