The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories
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The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories

4.1 40
by Susanna Clarke, Charles Vess
     
 

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Following the enormous success of 2004 bestseller and critics' favorite Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke delivers a delicious collection of ten stories set in the same fairy-crossed world of 19th-century England. With Clarke's characteristic historical detail and diction, these dark, enchanting tales unfold in a slightly distorted version of

Overview

Following the enormous success of 2004 bestseller and critics' favorite Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke delivers a delicious collection of ten stories set in the same fairy-crossed world of 19th-century England. With Clarke's characteristic historical detail and diction, these dark, enchanting tales unfold in a slightly distorted version of our own world, where people are bedeviled by mischievous interventions from the fairies.

With appearances from beloved characters from her novel, including Jonathan Strange and Childermass, and an entirely new spin on certain historical figures, including Mary, Queen of Scots, this is a must-have for fans of Susanna Clarke's and an enticing introduction to her work for new readers. Some of these stories have never before been published; others have appeared in the New York Times or in highly regarded anthologies. In this collection, they come together to expand the reach of Clarke's land of enchantment--and anticipate her next novel.

Editorial Reviews

In this set of short stories, the author of the dazzling fantasy Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell returns readers to that novel's unique milieu, a vision of 19th-century Britain that combines urbane comedy with the uncanny atmosphere of classic fairy stories. Proper young women who might have stepped from the pages of Mansfield Park practice very un-Austenian magic, a fairy mobilizes a town to help him pursue an object of lust, and a king matches wits with a beggar. At once achingly familiar and completely fresh, Susanna Clarke's stories arrive like postcards from an enchanted kingdom.
Publishers Weekly

Fans of Clarke's bestselling Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrellshould be pleased with this book, as the stories collected here are very much cut from the same cloth. The stories (seven previously published and one original tale, "John Uskglass and the Cumbrian Charcoal Burner") deal with fairies and the history of English magic, and are told in the same Victorian style that made JS&MNso distinct. Prebble (who also narrated JS&MN) returns and once again triumphantly brings Clarke's richly imagined world to life. Sharing narrative duties this time around is Porter, who is equally skilled at playing prim and high-born ladies as she is using more folksy tones in "On Lickerish Hill." The footnotes that bogged down the audio edition of JS&MNare mostly absent, and the narrators' very different styles work well to give each story its own distinct feel. A lyrical and thoroughly enjoyable collection from a burgeoning master of fantasy literature. Simultaneous release with the Bloomsbury hardcover (Reviews, July 31). (Nov.)

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Kirkus Reviews
Materials from British folklore are reworked with beguiling narrative energy and mischievous wit in this first collection from the English author of the wonderful adult fantasy Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (2004). Two of that book's major characters make vivid reappearances here. In "John Uskglass and the Cumbrian Charcoal Burner," the legendary magician the Raven King (aka Uskglass) tramples on a humble woodsman's property while hunting, and is himself humbled when his victim enlists various saints to redress his grievance. In the amusing title story, gentleman sorcerer Jonathan Strange discovers during a country visit that "the magic of wild creatures [notably owls] and the magic of women" are indeed a match for his own. Elsewhere, Mary Queen of Scots, while imprisoned by her rival, England's Elizabeth I, plots revenge through the medium of pictorial embroidery: Still, Elizabeth survives, and Mary loses her head (in "Antickes and Frets"). That tactic achieves better results when a British military hero strays into a remote domicile ruled by similar domestic magic (in "The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse"). Odd things will happen, evidently, when mortals join forces or contend with fairy folk. "Tom Brightwind and How the Fairy Bridge Was Built at Thoresby" describes how Tom, a vainglorious and dictatorial otherworldly paterfamilias, is gently persuaded by his best human friend to improve the fortunes of the inhabitants of Thoresby, a village hitherto cut off from the world beyond it. Less benign supernatural intervention operates in tales relating an unhappy young wife's risky escape from her boring old husband ("On Lickerish Hill"); a forsaken fiancee's perilous dealings withthe fairy temptress ("Mrs. Mabb") who has stolen her beloved; and, in "Mr. Simonelli or The Fairy Widower," a country cleric's refusal to be intimidated by a "powerful fairy" landowner's disagreeable habit of seducing and exploiting innocent young women. Irresistible storytelling, from a splendidly gifted enchantress.
From the Publisher

“Vivid and amusing…Magically funny.” —Ursula K. LeGuin, Los Angeles Times

“Captivating…an enticing introduction to Clarke's alternate universe.” —People (4 stars, Critic's Choice)

“The prose is consistently flawless and beautiful. Reading Clarke is like inspecting some wonderful antiquated craft, such as marquetry or fine hand embroidery.” —Washington Post

“Offers a rich, redoubtable vision…Lean, lovely, and witty.” —Entertainment Weekly

“The writing is captivating, the characters charming, and the notion that perhaps there's more to reality than what our senses tell us is, as Clarke might say with a smile, simply enchanting.” —Nancy Pearl, NPR

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596912519
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
10/17/2006
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author


Susanna Clarke is the author of the New York Times bestseller and multiple award winner Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. She lives in Cambridge, England.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Date of Birth:
November 16, 1959
Place of Birth:
Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England
Education:
B.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, 1981
Website:
http://www.jonathanstrange.com

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Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
Belldam More than 1 year ago
Each story in this book is brimming with as much imagination and historical knowledge as Clarke's debut novel. One of the anthology's greatest qualities is its focus on women's magic, which was alluded to but diminished in the male-centric Jonathan Strange. The other stories I liked best were those focusing on Clarke's unique take on fairies and fairy magic. If you enjoyed Jonathan Strange, this book is a wonderful expansion on the world Clarke built. There was not a single story in the book that I did not enjoy.
bookluvinprof More than 1 year ago
Although I didn't find these stories as all-absorbing as Clarke's novel Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, each story was interesting and unique within itself. I particularly liked the title story, a mercurial tale of three women practicing witchcraft; the story about the fairy widower; and the short, short story about Mary Queen of Scots. The pleasure of the stories is in Clarke's writing style and her lack of condescension for the material. The stuff of old folk tales (such as Tom-Tit-Tot) is revived in a fresh and unique way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful collection of stories, especially if you love Clarke's _Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell_. Whoever created the ebook version, however, has done in incredibly poor job. There are typos that suggest that a scanned copy was poorly proofread; Clarke's scene breaks have been removed; and somehow the illustrations were distorted when they were scanned. If you're buying the ebook, wait until the publisher has provided a better one.
Jamesthree More than 1 year ago
Ladies of Grace Adieu is a set of short stories set in the universe of Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Her vision of an England alive with a magical rebirth is both familar and wonderfully realized. I will purchase and read anything she writes in the future. Her voice and style are truly orginal and fresh. A recasting of Victorian tropes and themes for the 21st century. She may became our Andrew Lang or George MacDonald.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not as epic as "Jonathan Strange".
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