I enjoyed reading Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, and so was especially glad to be able to read The Ladies of Grace-Adieu, her book of short stories (apparently her next novel is a ways off).
The stories, (mostly?) all written before the novel, foreshadow the excellent intermingling of dry wit — and surrealism and darkness — that made Strange so popular. Strongly recommended to Strange fans and to all those curious about all the fuss but unwilling to pick up an 800-page tome.
And to give you some idea of what you’re getting into, here are some examples. Clarke’s writing tends to combine finely crafted prose with droll humour, and these extracts demonstrate both.