Having today rewritten a few chapters of my hitherto shelved children’s fantasy novel (set aside the past year to focus on my short stories and poetry), and being on the final leg of re-reading a magical classic (in my opinion), I’ve allowed my head to be filled with all sorts of strange ideas and fantastical ‘facts’ recently. And it’s been brilliant.
There’s nothing so strange as fiction, I believe, and it’s great fun to both read and write. The possibilities are endless and you can always bet on something unexpected lurking around the next corner. Nowhere is this more the truth than in Susanna Clarke’s novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, which is the book I’ve been re-reading this week. Let’s just say, it’s a bit of a door-stopper, and as it’s been 10 years since I read it last, it’s been like entering Clarke’s world for the first time again. You can imagine how great that is, when it’s a book you know you love – you just can’t remember the particulars of why…
Anyway, for those Strange and Norrell fans out there, you’ll know that tonight was the BBC’s airing of the first episode of the book, which has seemingly taken those past 10 years to bring to the screen. Peter Jackson managed to get Lord of the Rings condensed to film, but he struggled with Norrell & Strange, so it fell to the creator of Sherlock to do the deed.
I’m always hesitant when books are brought to life for film or TV, in case they meddle too much and, well, you know, change how you see the characters etc etc. I am, however, pleased to see that Strange, Norrell, Childermass and the gentleman with the thistle-down hair have stepped off the page and onto the TV in fine form and I can’t wait to see how the next bit of the story is shown.
I’m not often one to re-read books, especially long ones like Clarke’s, but when the writing’s this good, it’s worth it. It’s helped to re-inspire my own writing and has served as a timely reminder of those limitless possibilities in creating fiction. Well worth a read if you haven’t yet enjoyed it!