I’m trying something new here so hang on tight. I always like getting recs for books or movies especially if there are little threads like ‘hey, you’d like this because this character reminds me of such in such’ or ‘this feels like a progenitor to that.’
So if you like Susana Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell it feels like the grandchild of George MacDonald’s Lilith and a cousin to G.K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday. If you like Lilith you should check out Jonathan Strange. The connection then to Thursday is a bit more tenuous, but both involve men of a pre-1910 time period thrust into confusing, new reality. Both are very foundational in philosophical speculation and MacDonald a direct influence on Chesterton.
The Man Who Was Thursday, G.K. Chesterton (Amazon/B&N)
Set in a phantasmagoric London where policemen are poets and anarchists camouflage themselves as, well, anarchists, his 1907 novel offers up one highly colored enigma after another. If that weren’t enough, the author also throws in an elephant chase and a hot-air-balloon pursuit in which the pursuers suffer from “the persistent refusal of the balloon to follow the roads, and the still more persistent refusal of the cabmen to follow the balloon. via Amazon | more at wikipedia
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke (Amazon/B&N)
At the dawn of the nineteenth century, two very different magicians emerge to change England’s history. In the year 1806, with the Napoleonic Wars raging on land and sea, most people believe magic to be long dead in England–until the reclusive Mr Norrell reveals his powers, and becomes a celebrity overnight. Soon, another practicing magician comes forth: the young, handsome, and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell’s student, and they join forces in the war against France. But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic, straining his partnership with Norrell, and putting at risk everything else he holds dear. via Amazon | more at wikipedia
Lilith, George MacDonald (Amazon/B&N)
Mr. Vane, the protagonist of Lilith, owns a library that seems to be haunted by the former librarian, who looks much like a raven from the brief glimpses he catches of the wraith. After finally encountering the supposed ghost, the mysterious Mr. Raven, Vane learns that Raven had known his father; indeed, Vane’s father had visited the strange parallel universe from which Raven comes and goes and now resides therein. Vane follows Raven into the world through a mirror. Inside the world, Vane learns of a house of beds where the dreamers sleep until the end of the world in death: a good death, in which life is found. Vane’s grandfather refused to sleep there and is, instead, forced to do battle with skeletons in a haunted wood. After a treacherous journey through a valley , Mr. Vane meets the Little Ones, children who never grow up, remaining pure children or becoming selfish and getting bigger and dumber, turning into “bags” or bad giants. After conversing with Lona, the eldest of the children, Mr. Vane decides to help them, and sets off to gather more information, although the Raven has warned Mr. Vane that he needs to sleep along with the dreamers before he can really help them… via wikipedia | more at wikipedia