Having been disappointed with most of what I’d been reading lately, I decided to read this book even though I’m not a short story fan, because I thought Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell was an absolutely brilliant book. And I was in the mood for something I knew would be good.
And it was good. These eight short stories, set in the same imagined England as Clarke’s novel, share much of its atmosphere and wit. As is to be expected, they’re also very well-written, in the same sort of nineteenth-century language as the novel. I enjoyed them--particularly the title story, “Mrs Mabb,” “Mr Simonelli” and “Tom Brightwind,” all longer stories dealing with the relationships between people and the magical world.
But I can’t say this collection has converted me into a fan of short stories—I find I have little to say about it. They’re certainly well-done, but it’s Clarke’s next novel that I’m really waiting for.