Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell: A Novel

by Henry on September 12, 2004

I’ve just finished Susanna Clarke’s “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1582344167/henryfarrell-20 and can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s “being marketed”:http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/01/magazine/01CLARKE.html?ei=5090&en=2fea0b3cbfbd17d9&ex=1249099200&partner=rssuserland&pagewanted=print&position= as Harry Potter for grown-ups; the comparison is a little misleading (among children’s writers, Clarke is much closer to Dianna Wynne-Jones than to Rowling), but it captures the novel’s likely appeal to people who don’t usually read fantasy. _JSAMN_ lacks most of the usual apparatus of the genre (dragons, rings and what-have-you), but still has something of its flavour. It’s a sly, funny, intelligent novel, and in its own way, quite subversive.

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9/12

by Eszter Hargittai on September 12, 2004

There were the personal tragedies of 9/11 for the family and friends of those who died.. and then followed all the other tragedies. Michael Froomkin links to this disturbing film.

The price of growth in China

by Chris Bertram on September 12, 2004

The New York TImes has a “horrific report on the extent of pollution in China”:http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/12/international/asia/12china.html?hp and on the people who are bearing the costs of growth:

bq. Less than a mile downstream from the waste outlet, Wang Haiqing watched his seven goats chew on weeds. Mr. Wang lived on the other side of the stream, in Wangguo, and said several neighbors had contracted cancer or other intestinal ailments. He said his goats vomited if they drank from the blackened water.

bq. To reach clean drinking water, he said villagers must dig wells 130 feet deep. Most cannot afford to do so.

bq. “It’s been so polluted by the MSG factory,” said Mr. Wang, 60. “It tastes metallic even after you boil it and skim the stuff off it. But it’s the only water we have to drink and to use for cooking.”