Saturday, February 06, 2021

Five of the best intrusive fantasy books

Gita Trelease is the author of All That Glitters (UK Enchantée,) a YA fantasy set on the eve of the French Revolution, and the sequel Everything That Burns. Born in Sweden to Indian and Swedish parents, Trelease has lived in New York, Paris, and a tiny town in Italy. She attended Yale College and New York University, where she earned a Ph.D. in British literature. Before writing novels, she taught classes on monsters and fairy tales. With her family, Trelease divides her time between a village in Massachusetts and the coast of Maine, where she searches for a secret portal to take her back to Versailles.

At Trelease tagged five favorite books featuring intrusive fantasy (the opposite of portal fantasy), including:
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which reads like a perfect mashup of Dickens and Austen, hinges on fantasy’s creep into the Regency England’s everyday world. In it, a “magician” is a historian of magic, magic itself having not been practiced in England in a very long time. Yet that is about to change as magic intrudes upon the story. It happens through the surprising revelation that there are at least two “practical” magicians in England who can work magic. It happens through one of those magician’s ill-advised workings, which summons sinister fairies into British society. Magic also seeps into the story through the book’s footnotes. In them, an alternate history of a magical England invades the page’s margins, stealing attention from the main plot, and insisting, I think, that dividing worlds into “real” and “magical” is a most dangerous illusion.
Read about another entry on the list.

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is among Emily Temple's top ten contemporary Dickensian novels, April Genevieve Tucholke's top five books with elements that echo Norse myth , and D.D. Everest's top ten secret libraries.

--Marshal Zeringue