Hardback edition released 15/09/2020

by Susanna Clarke

Literary Fiction Audiobooks of the Month

Piranesi Synopsis

Piranesi lives in the House. Perhaps he always has.

In his notebooks, day after day, he makes a clear and careful record of its wonders: the labyrinth of halls, the thousands upon thousands of statues, the tides that thunder up staircases, the clouds that move in slow procession through the upper halls. On Tuesdays and Fridays Piranesi sees his friend, the Other. At other times he brings tributes of food to the Dead. But mostly, he is alone.

Messages begin to appear, scratched out in chalk on the pavements. There is someone new in the House. But who are they and what do they want? Are they a friend or do they bring destruction and madness as the Other claims?

Lost texts must be found; secrets must be uncovered. The world that Piranesi thought he knew is becoming strange and dangerous.

The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite.

About This Edition

ISBN: 9781526622426
Publication date: 15th September 2020
Author: Susanna Clarke
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 272 pages
Primary Genre Literary Fiction
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Susanna Clarke Press Reviews

Reminds us of fiction's power to take us to another world and expand our understanding of this one - Guardian, Autumn highlights

The fiction, nonfiction and poetry that deepened our understanding, ignited our curiosity and helped us escape ... For fantasy readers often eager to get lost in mystical worlds and escape the complications of real life, Piranesi's predicament deeply resonates - Time, Books of the Year

Susanna Clarke's new novel is a beguiling study of isolation and exile ... To say more would be to ruin one of the year's more unusual reading experiences - i paper, Books of the Year 2020

This tale of weird enchanted halls is close to perfect - The Times, Books of the Year

A warm book about losing and finding oneself; about what humanity could have lost in the process of becoming rational - BBC.com

Purely joyful reading ... a delight - as if Borges wrote a novel with a beginning, middle and satisfying end -- Naomi Alderman - Spectator, Books of the Year

My absolute favourite book of the year by miles ... it took root in me -- Jenny Colgan - Spectator, Books of the Year

Like Hilary Mantel, Clarke made the very notion of genre seem quaint ... Piranesi is a tenebrous study in solitude ... A remarkable feat, not just of craft but of reinvention - Guardian

Susanna Clarke's long-awaited Piranesi is utterly compelling - bewildering, intense, moving, shocking, combining a haunting fantasy with sharp insights about a culture of domination, hierarchy and rivalry and about how the imagination can survive in such a world -- Rowan Williams - New Statesman Books of the Year

Like a thriller ... Compelling ... A fever dream - disorientating, engrossing, persistently strange ... It burrows into the subconscious, throwing out puzzles long after the final page ... Brilliantly singular - Sunday Times

Exhilarating and hallucinatory, a mystery told backwards and inside-out. How she does it I've no idea; it's as though most minds are cameras, but Clarke's is a kaleidoscope -- Melissa Harrison - New Statesman, Books of the Year

Brilliantly peculiar ... It subverts expectations throughout ... Utterly otherworldly - Guardian

The publication of Susanna Clarke's Piranesi confirms her status as one of the greatest and most interesting writers of fantasy in the past hundred years or more - Times Literary Supplement, Books of the Year

A gently comic, thoroughly beguiling read ... The 'House' - its upper rooms lost in clouds, its lower chambers drowned by the sea - will haunt my dreams - Daily Mail

The most curious confection ... Blending elements of mythology and fantasy, with nods along the way to CS Lewis and Tolkien ... Genuinely moving climax that throws open the doors of the halls in more ways than one - i paper

Her prowess as a stylist is undiminished ... Piranesi's naively observant voice also nods to the narrators of those Enlightenment parables of flawed Reason lost amid marvels and monsters - think Defoe's Crusoe, Swift's Gulliver, Voltaire's Candide - The Arts Desk

Close to perfect ... Full of wonders and an infectious ecstasy ... Clarke has the same skill Flann O'Brien poured into The Third Policeman for making insane worlds feel as solid as our own - Sunday Times

A dazzling fable about loneliness, imagination and memory - Spectator

Beautiful and bewitchingly strange - Mail on Sunday

This is a novel of exceptional beauty ... The cliche that this book is hard to put down is for once true; I can think of few recent books that keep the reader so passionately hungry to know what happens next and to understand the hints and guesses that appear in greater and greater profusion ... There is at the heart of her writing a rare capacity for the immediate: the stripped, wide-eyed descriptive simplicity of someone who, like her Piranesi, has gone through some sort of barrier and brought back news. -- Rowan Williams - New Statesman

A novel to revisit - a house you can open again, with statues touched by quiet thoughts and strange tides ... To read Piranesi is to be the labyrinth and the traveller in the labyrinth, which is poetry and prose - Observer

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 A book that's deliciously weird but meticulously constructed to achieve maximum suspense. Susanna Clarke doesn't just write about magic; she channels it on to the page - Sunday Express

Enthralling and transcendent ... 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 lightning-like pace - it's hard not to rush ahead, even when each sentence, each revelation makes you want to linger - NPR

Plunges deep into those forbidden fortresses from which the un-mad and mortal among us are forever barred ... The only possible conclusion is: Clarke is writing from experience ... With great effort, Clarke has un-unpicked her personality and returned to this world, our Earth, so that the rest of us might know her exquisite burden. Welcome back, Fairy Mistress, if only for a spell! We are grateful to you, oh yes, but we mourn you a little, too-that you must work so hard to be human. - Wired

Utterly brain-mangling ... A creepy, expertly managed crime story - Metro

Close to perfect ... As a work of fiction, it's spectacular; an irresistibly unspooling mystery set in a world of original strangeness, revealing a set of ideas that will stay lodged in your head long after you've finished reading - The Times

Why don't you trip on the new Susanna Clarke book if you want to get your mind bent but don't much care for drugs? - New York Magazine

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 ... A standout feat - 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 - Boston Globe

A short and beautiful novel that reads like a poem ... in its cumulative effect of expressing an emotion and state of being that is inexpressible. It's a strange and lovely read - Buzzfeed

In terms of invention and beauty, it's a fitting heir to Clarke's first book ... Clarke deftly weaves together highbrow and lowbrow so Piranesi as reader is both symbol and story. To read Piranesi is to be the labyrinth and the traveler in the labyrinth, which is poetry and prose ... The end of the novel doesn't exactly provide justice, and closure is only provisional. Piranesi is a gentle man, and a gentle book. It wants to leave doors open for its characters and its readers ... Piranesi is a novel to revisit - a house you can open again, with statues touched by quiet thoughts and strange tides - Observer

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 A wonder - Slate.com

Susanna Clarke has fashioned her own myth anew and enlarged the world again - New Republic

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 Okay, now everyone listen. No, I mean it, shut up for a second. We need to talk about Piranesi. I don't... I really do not know how to talk about this book beyond a very high pitched scream and an emphatic grabbing of your knee - Tor.com

As gloriously imaginative as its predecessor ... A novel that could have been written by nobody else ... Her prose is crisp, direct and unfussy ... It's a book about the tension between those who want to possess a world and those who delight in it, describe it, honour it. It's an extraordinary book, well worth the wait - SFX Magazine

Fifteen years on from Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Clarke's second novel finally sees the light - Sunday Times, What to watch out for next year 2020

Susannah Clarke's monumental masterwork Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell was one of the finest works of speculative fiction of the twenty-first century and now, with Piranesi, she once more mines a darkly fantastical vision with a tale of a very singular house and its mysterious inhabitants. Saturated in gothic atmosphere and supernatural lore, Piranesi is simply unmissable - Waterstones.com

Here is Clarke's talent in full flower; Piranesi is the most purely enjoyable novel I've read in a long while - Literary Review

A magical house with labyrinthine halls and tides that thunder up staircases - The Times, Autumn highlights

Delightful, discombobulating ... Piranesi is detective of his own existence ... Gripping - Psychologies

It's 16 years since Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell - now Clarke is back with a new otherworldly fantasy - Guardian, 2020 in books: a literary calendar

Sixteen long years have passed since the publication of the magnificent Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Susanna Clarke returns at last in September with Piranesi ... The eerie tale of a man who lives in a flooded house - Daily Express

The long-awaited new book from the author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell - Observer

Susannah Clarke's much-anticipated follow-up finally arrives - SFX Magazine

Sixteen years after Jonathan Strange And Mr Norrell, Susannah Clarke returns at last with the otherworldly tale of a man who lives in a flooded house - Daily Mirror

PRAISE FOR JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR NORRELL: Unquestionably the finest English novel of the fantastic written in the last seventy years. It's funny, moving, scary, otherworldly, practical and magical ... Closing Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell after 800 pages my only regret was that it wasn't twice the length -- NEIL GAIMAN This is, in both the precise and the colloquial sense, a fabulous book ... a highly original and compelling work - SUNDAY TIMES

To be honest, my topic for a gathering, my page-turner, my mind-improver, my talking point and my train-reading are all one and the same book: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell...I am literally unable to put it down -- JULIAN FELLOWES - TATLER

Full of spells, bad weather, statues that talk, haunted ballrooms and sinister gentlemen with thistledown hair ... be enchanted! - ELLE

The language of the book is such a pleasure you'd probably want to go and read it anyway -- LAUREN LAVERNE, BBC 6 MUSIC A literary event - Daily Telegraph, Autumn highlights

A sublime exploration of loss, isolation, and the power of the imagination - New York Magazine, Autumn picks

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 - Washington Post

Wondrous and moving ... Empathy opens new horizons in Susanna Clarke's glorious new novel about occultists, lost ages, and the power of belief - Los Angeles Times

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781526622433
Publication date: 02/09/2021
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781526622426
Publication date: 15/09/2020
Format: Hardback

Publication date: 15/09/2020
Format: Audiobook

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About Susanna Clarke

Susanna Clarke was born in Nottingham in 1959, the eldest daughter of a Methodist Minister. In 1990 she left London and went to Turin to teach English to stressed-out executives of the Fiat motor company. The following year she taught English in Bilbao. She returned to England in 1992 and spent the rest of that year in County Durham, in a house that looked out over the North Sea. There she began working on her first novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, published by Bloomsbury in October 2004.Susanna lives in Cambridge with her partner, the novelist and reviewer Colin Greenland.

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