I usually start with the basic who, when, and where of the book I’m reviewing but that isn’t going to be the case with Piranesi. This unique little treasure bewildered me at first then quickly reeled me in with its familiar characters and mind-bending mystery. Don’t be fooled by the somewhat simple writing style in the beginning, the depth within the few pages of this quick read is astounding as it unravels layer upon numerous layer. It’s best to go into this book blind and allow yourself the chance to be delightfully surprised and amused as you enter the mysterious and mystical Halls, just don’t get swept away by the powerful Tides! Beautiful, spellbinding, and somehow simultaneously comforting and disturbing in its exploration of the human condition.
September 2020 Indie Next List
“It was more than 15 years ago that Susanna Clarke built a wing on the edifice of fantasy fiction unlike any seen before in the form of a debut novel called Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. After so long, I’d be grateful for any new work from her, but I’m unspeakably glad that she’s again constructed something entirely new. Piranesi has a smaller footprint than her previous novel, but makes more efficient use of space, cramming an entire unsettling universe into a book far bigger on the inside than it is out.”
— James Crossley, Madison Books, Seattle, WA
New York Times Bestseller!
From the New York Times bestselling author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, an intoxicating, hypnotic new novel set in a dreamlike alternative reality.
Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.
There is one other person in the house—a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.
For readers of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane and fans of Madeline Miller’s Circe, Piranesi introduces an astonishing new world, an infinite labyrinth, full of startling images and surreal beauty, haunted by the tides and the clouds.
About the Author
Susanna Clarke's debut novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell was first published in more than 34 countries and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Guardian First Book Award. It won British Book Awards Newcomer of the Year, the Hugo Award and the World Fantasy Award in 2005. The Ladies of Grace Adieu, a collection of short stories, some set in the world of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, was published by Bloomsbury in 2006. She lives in Derby shire.
"[Piranesi] flooded me, as the tides flood the halls, with a scouring grief, leaving gleaming gifts in its wake… rich, wondrous, full of aching joy and sweet sorrow. "- The New York Times Book Review
“A novel that feels like a surreal meditation on life in quarantine.” —The New Yorker
“Piranesi astonished me. It is a miraculous and luminous feat of storytelling, at once a gripping mystery, an adventure through a brilliant new fantasy world, and a deep meditation on the human condition: feeling lost, and being found. I already want to be back in its haunting and beautiful halls!” —Madeline Miller, New York Times Bestselling Author of CIRCE
“Unforgettable - surely one of the most original works of fiction this season. It drops you into a mind-bending fantasy world, a vast labyrinth with infinite rooms and seas that sweep into halls and up staircases with the tides. … It's a hypnotic tale that you can devour in a day (and probably will; it's that hard to put down).” —AARP
“Piranesi is a high-quality page-turner-even the most leisurely reader will probably finish it off in a day-but its chief pleasure is immersion in its strange and uncannily attractive setting. . . Establishing that sense of totality-and the feeling of peacefulness that accompanies it-is Ms. Clarke's standout feat.” —Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal
“Could Piranesi match [the hype]? I'm delighted to say it has, with Clarke's singular wit and imagination still intact in a far more compressed yet still captivating tale you'll want to delve into again right after you read its sublime last sentence.” —The Boston Globe
“Piranesi is a gorgeous, spellbinding mystery that gently unravels page by page. Precisely the sort of book that I love wordlessly handing to someone so they can have the pleasure of uncovering its secrets for themselves. This book is a treasure, washed up upon a forgotten shore, waiting to be discovered.” —Erin Morgenstern, NYT bestselling author of THE STARLESS SEA and THE NIGHT CIRCUS
“A short and beautiful novel that reads like a poem, not in its use of language (which is very accessible) but rather in its cumulative effect of expressing an emotion and state of being that is inexpressible. It's a strange and lovely read.” —Buzzfeed
“What a world Susanna Clarke conjures into being, what a tick-tock-tick-tock of reveals, what a pure protagonist, what a morally-squalid supporting cast, what beauty, tension and restraint, and what a pitch-perfect ending. Piranesi is an exquisite puzzle-box far, far bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.” —David Mitchell, New York Times bestselling author of CLOUD ATLAS
“Destined to become a work of classic fantasy.” —Ron Charles, CBS Sunday Morning Book Report
“Piranesi Will Wreck You: The novel establishes Susanna Clarke as one of our greatest living writers.” —New York Magazine
“Infinitely clever… none of [Clarke's] enchantment has worn off - it's evolved. . . to abide in these pages is to find oneself happily detained in awe.” —The Washington Post
"Enthralling [and] transcendent… the sweetness, the innocence of Piranesi's love for this world is devastating to read. Clarke's writing is clear, sharp — she can cleave your heart in a few short words. . . The mystery of Piranesi unwinds at a tantalizing yet lightening-like pace — it's hard not to rush ahead, even when each sentence, each revelation makes you want to linger." - NPR.org
"The long-awaited followup to Jonathan Strange is even more magically immersive. . . Here is a protagonist with no guile, no greed, no envy, no cruelty, and yet still intriguing." - The Los Angeles Times
“[Piranesi’s] love of the house and the meaning he finds in his humble life within it give this unusual novel a radiant, gentle, melancholy heart." - Slate, Best Books of 2020
"Susanna Clarke’s astonishing Piranesi proves she’s one of the greatest novelists writing today." - Vox
"Piranesi hit my mind and soul like a thunderbolt. It is a work of deep power." - EW.com
“Susanna Clarke has fashioned her own myth anew and enlarged the world again.” —The New Republic
"Spellbinding, strange, and unforgettably original." - Esquire
“Almost impossible to put down… lavishly descriptive, charming, heartbreaking and imbued with a magic that will be familiar to Clarke's devoted readers, Piranesi will satisfy lovers of Jonathan Strange and win her many new fans.” —Bookpage, starred review
“Readers who accompany [Piranesi] as he learns to understand himself will see magic returning to our world. Weird and haunting and excellent.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
“Clarke wraps a twisty mystery inside a metaphysical fantasy in her extraordinary new novel . . . Sure to be recognized as one of the year's most inventive.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“As questions multiply and suspense mounts in this spellbinding, occult puzzle of a fable, one begins to wonder if perhaps the reverence, kindness, and gratitude practiced by Clarke's enchanting and resilient hero aren't all the wisdom one truly needs.” —Booklist, Starred Review
“Clarke creates an immersive world that readers can almost believe exists. This is a solid crossover pick for readers whose appreciation of magical fantasy leans toward V.E. Schwab or Erin Morgenstern.” —Library Journal, Starred Review
“Clarke's imagination is prodigious, her pacing is masterly and she knows how to employ dry humor in the service of majesty.” —Gregory Maguire, The New York Times
“Nobody writes about magic the way Clarke does . . . She writes about magic as if she's actually worked it.” —Lev Grossman, TIME Magazine