Another returnee to our list is Susanna Clarke's much-lauded debut novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell, which has turned out to be one of the big books of 2004 (in more ways than one, given its 800-page length). Following an impressive 250,000-copy first printing, Clarke's opus is up to 405,000 copies after seven trips back to press. Though Bloomsbury's original cover design was executed in both black and white versions, a special red jacket was printed for the holidays; 25,000 copies were shipped in November. The book was named by People and Salon.com as one of the top 10 of 2004; termed "the hottest debut novel" by the AP; cited as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; and appeared on numerous "best" lists by such publications as PW, the Chicago Tribune, the Village Voice, the Washington Post Book World, etc. SRO crowds thronged Clarke's holiday appearances—more than 200 at a Boston Public Library event and 150 at the Smithsonian.
Volume 252 Issue 2 01/10/2005