hardcover, 272 pages

English language

Published Sept. 14, 2020 by Bloomsbury Publishing.

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4 stars (11 reviews)

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 …

6 editions

Una historia que alberga muchas historias

5 stars

En primer lugar, debo decir que leer a cualquiera de las ganadoras del Women's Prize for Fiction siempre es una excelente idea.

Piranesi es una novela breve, pero que alberga muchas historias en sí misma: desde la encantadora vida del protagonista en su Casa-Mundo hasta los secretos del Mundo más allá de ella. Quizá la historia pierde un poco de impacto con todas las pistas que la autora incluye en la misma, empezando por el título, pero se presta a tantas reflexiones que igual me merece 5 estrellas.

"La Hermosura de la Casa es inconmesurable; su Bondad, infinita."


3 stars

L'histoire est originale, mais elle aurait mieux convenu à une nouvelle. Là, étirée sur 300 pages, ça traine en longueur, et le livre a fini par me faire l'effet d'être aussi vide et interminable que les pièces parcourues par le personnage principal.

Unfolding into the (Un)known

5 stars

I didn't know what to expect coming into this and I firmly recommend trying to go in with as little knowledge as you possibly can. The unfolding that occurs throughout the narrative was the payoff, the end just another event along a wave of experience.

A library book that has inevitably made it to my own collection, amongst the shelf of favorites that are destined to be reread over and over again.

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

5 stars

This is one of those books that's unlike any other. It's surreal and dreamy and the sheer "what the heck's going on?" factor compelled me to read it all in one day.

A novel like this - light on plot, with an extremely limited cast of characters, told in an epistolary style - really sinks or swims on the narrative voice. Luckily the titular Piranesi is fun to read, and comes across as practical and clever, curious and sweet. His ignorance is charming rather than frustrating, and of course his naivete is all part of the mystery.

Highly recommended to anyone who loves an atmospheric and/or experimental story.

Reality plus a little magic

4 stars

I really enjoyed the book, the smaller world that the protagonist lives in is very simple and is intriguing, but not somewhere I feel I need to return to. The larger universe though is interesting, with its reality plus a little magic vibe. I enjoyed the unravelling mystery and it compelled me to read it much faster than I've read books of similar size. The first few chapters describing the House reminded me of the descriptions of The Sleeper Service in Iain M Banks' book Excession. To the point where I thought the book was going to go in a sci-fi direction.

reviewed Piranesi

slow to start, but it does get very good

5 stars

I found this book a bit slow for the first 50–60 pages, which are spent mostly describing the World without much of any sort of Plot happening. It only really begins to pick up around Part 3, when the mystery inherent to the setting starts to unravel, all through the eyes of a narrator not so much unreliable as naïve and lacking in knowledge, which makes him unable to understand things which are clear to the reader. It's the sort of book where it's worth reading (or at least skimming) the first few parts again to see what you missed the first read through.

A beautiful book that quiets and comforts my mind

5 stars

If we were born in another world what form would the shadows cast upon the walls of our cave take? What mythologies and art would inform our identity? What are the limits that malicious people have to do harm through warping and confining our realities? How does the society around me shape the person I am at any given time?

Piranesi explores these questions in a labyrinth of an endless house full of statues that is flooded by the sea. The answers are in the faces of our neighbors and in the hushing pose of the faun.

Review of 'Piranesi' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I've waited so long for a sequel to Strange & Norrell, but was thrilled to see the publication of this second, much different novel, which may (or may well not) be in the same "universe", as it were, as S & N.

The upshot: this is one of the most hauntingly beautiful books I have ever read, I can't recommend it enough.

(PS, it's a finalist in both the 2020 Nebula and Hugo awards.)