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March 10 2006

Susanna Clarke, author of "Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell", lists Joss as one of her favorite writers. He and the other BtVS writers are among her 5 favorite writers, and the only non-text based authors listed.

Her first novel has been extensively praised and awarded since its publication last year, and I've finally got around to reading it (100 pages in as of right now) and it is a fabulously witty and rewarding read. And apparently, from this interview, she has great taste too! I really recommend the book; it's as though Jane Austen decided to write an AU version of 17th century English history, one where magic really exists.

Among her top 5 favorite writers (and keeping in great company: Alan Moore, Dickens, Gaiman and Austen):

"Joss Whedon and other assorted writers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Not perfect. The plots often creak. But the dialogue is wonderful and the characterisation is as almost as good. Apparently Joss Whedon starts from emotion. He asks what emotion does the viewer need to feel? and what emotion does the character need to feel? These are very good questions for any writer in writing any fiction. Get that right and your readers/viewers will want to keep reading/watching."

OK, so she likes beer, Alan Moore, GK Chesterton, Sherlock Holmes, Neil Gaiman and Buffy. Is she actually me ? I don't remember writing any bestsellers recently or, indeed, being a woman but that's a pretty close match otherwise. Haven't read Emma but, given her other interests, I think I may like it ;).

Pretty good interview, nice long answers. If she writes in snippets it's no wonder it took her so long to finish a brick like Strange and Norrell (which I also haven't read but is meant to be excellent). One for the future, I think.
That's pretty damn cool. I really enjoyed 'Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell' (though it was perhaps a bit too long). I can totally see the author being a Joss fan. :D

You know, I bet one of those "other assorted Buffy writers" is Jane Espenson.

(PS - There's no "h" at the end of Susanna's name.)
So at least she gets what Joss means when he says "I give them what they need" - it's about emotion not a God-complex.
Exactly, Keith G - that's what I was trying to explain, not nearly as articulately or as succinctly, over on the other thread :-)
I've had Jonathan Strange sitting on my bedside table for months now, and one of these days will finally get around to reading it. It keeps getting put off for other books, but it's definitely on my list...
This post makes me sad that I was unable to get thru J Strange...and I love long novels. I read A Suitable Boy once a year or so, but this one defeated me. Still, kudus for a best-selling author giving kudus to Joss!
All you who are waiting to read it - stop waiting! The book is really good, and the footnotes are like mini fairy tales of history. It's long, but a good read. Any Jane Austen fans - this should be required reading for you :)
I've been waiting for a long time to see this book mentioned on the front page. I adore it. It is one of my favourite ever novels. I highly recommend it to anyone. The footnotes are sumptious.
I know: I've been hearing for over year how great this novel is, from everyone online and even Neil Gaiman, and I've been meaning to read it forever, and now that I'm 1/8 of the way in (which is a respectable 100 pages!) I'm having a ball. I like long novels when they're this good, b/c it gives you a lot to look forward to. And the narrative is so expansive -- it's not just a small story overly written, but a sprawling, ambitious work that tackles so many interesting things: martial history, 17th century English society, scholarship, the peculiar branch of magic she invented. It's also a perfect book to read and put down for a while, since the narrative is so sprawling, you can take little sips of it instead of trying to gulp it down in one sitting.

I love the footnotes; they have tiny little discursive stories of their own to tell, often more fun than the main drama.

Also, loved that a writer I really like (Clarke) is a professed fan of a writer I adore. It gives me a happy.
I am a huge Jane Austen fan - I have all her books in hardcover which is as close as I get to author "worship". I couldn't get past the first chapter of J Strange but sometimes I'm in a weird mood and something in the book puts me off. Time to try it again...
Me too Simon. I discovered this book last year when looking for something entirely different on Amazon. It came up as one of those "readers who bought this also bought this" books. I ended up getting it from the library, and after wondering if there was any way in hell that I'd get through a 700 page book, was consumed by it! I think I finished it in a week; reading it at lunch, after work, before bed, etc... Can't recommend it enough. (I now own a first edition British pressing that I got on Ebay for $10!)
Also check out her short story for a smaller dose of her style. This gives nothing away from the novel, but is intricately tied into its events w/r/t the fae.
I also enjoyed Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell. It took me about 80 pages or so to get into it, but after that I couldn't stop reading. I enjoy books where I can enter into the world of the characters so I was a little put off in the first few chapters where they all came across just like some of the stilted characters in some classics. In a short time, however, the author manages to breathe life into these people and I really came to care about them. I can see why she would enjoy the work of Joss Whedon and crew.

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