(First, let me say this: if you people don’t COMMENT, how am I going to know how wrong I am? C’mon!)
Okay, finished Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (it’s mentioned in the Recommended Reading post I made earlier). I now highly urge you to read this book. Not just because it’s got ideas relevant to these Conversations (which is why I recommended it before), but just because it’s a tremendous read. Everyone who reads this blog at all, will enjoy reading that book.
It’s amazing what the book is attempting to do. Y’know how the Romans didn’t feel like their people had a strong enough sense of pride in their Romanity, so they made up the story of Aeneas to connect their history to the ancient Greek mythology?
No? Well, they did. And it worked. And I think, at some point, Julius Caesar ended up tracing his ancestry back to Mars or Apollo or some such. The deMedicis did the same thing, creating a myth that they were somehow part of a much greater, ancient mythos.
It feels like Samantha Clarke is trying to do that for Britain today. She’s telling this story that is clearly fictional as though it were history, and she is setting up precisely that kind of myth. It’s as big as King Arthur, in its own way. It’s one of those stories that is more real than actual history, because it brings Meaning to the lives of the people.
Daniel and I have often discussed the need for more mythology in today’s world, and pretty much decided it would have to be some new kind of thing. Something that incorporated technology and naturalism and (*shudder*) logic, in order to WORK with today’s expectations.
Samantha Clarke didn’t bother with that. This is pure, old-fashioned, highly Brit-Lit mythology. I love it. It’s incredibly fun to read.
Also, I get the impression there’s going to be a sequel, but the book is quite excellent as a standalone.
Anyway, go buy it. Read it. And, also, comment on my posts, or else!