Books: Of Magic and Men

Susanna Clarke's ravishing Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is a superb post-Potter fantasy for grownups

Fantasy may be the greatest comeback story of the past 10 years. A decade ago, nobody wanted anything to do with it. All that stuff--swords and sorcery, dungeons and dragons--was so nerdy even science-fiction fans looked down on it. Science-fiction fans had Star Wars. Fantasy had--what? Willow?

Now all that has changed. Two of the biggest, megabillion-dollar entertainment franchises in the world, Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, come from fantasy novels. A group of outrageously talented writers is busy rescuing fantasy from under a mountain of New Age junk, collectible card games and heavy-metal album covers: J.K. Rowling,...

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