Oh wow - didn’t realize the backstory on this! Thank you for taking the time to fill us in and sharing your essay/portrait. This amps up my (already considerable) excitement. And now I have something to read before Piranesi hits!
I’m not a fantasy reader at all - I have a difficult time connecting with the genre - I can’t seem to make it through Lord of the Rings even. (I enjoyed The Chronicles of Amber when I was a child.) But I actually view Jonathan Strange as literary fiction. It feels more like a pastiche of Dickens, Austen and other 19th Century literary fiction (probably Henry James, too) rather than fantasy. (I’m also a big fan of Don Quixote and J.L. Borges - so perhaps I am a fantasy fan in a way.)
Anyway, this comment of yours gets my hopes up that she has another pastiche in store, because she has to be one of the most talented stylers of this rare art that the world has ever encountered. (I guess it’s funny that I should say this off the strength of only one book - but it’s a mighty long book and one of the few that is entitled to such thickness.)