Monday, September 7, 2020

Sampler Review | PIRANESI by Susanna Clarke

PIRANESI by Susanna Clarke
Publication: September 14, 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Genre: Adult Fantasy / Mystery
Rating: ★★★★

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 and waterlilies 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. -Publisher

It’s been sixteen years since Susanna Clarke’s Hugo award-winning debut, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Readers, of course, want to get their hands on her new book. And I am lucky enough to read an excerpt from Netgalley, just enough to be hooked.

PIRANESI opens with Clarke’s inclination for the strange. A huge House, somewhere, is a residence to thousands of statues divided into halls –halls clashed by tides at certain times of the day. At present, the House has two living residents as well, Piranesi and the Other. Piranesi, our narrator, keeps journals which he labeled in very peculiar ways. He has a critical mind and chronicles everything with meticulousness. He doesn’t seem to mind living alone, but his curiosity about many things is apparent. Piranesi himself is a curiosity. And the Other seems to hold the same opinion.

Compared to JSMN, PIRANESI is hundreds of pages shorter. Still, everybody knows that numbers cannot limit Clarke’s magic. The otherworldliness of the book amplifies the mystery enveloping the whole premise. Who is Piranesi? Where exactly is he? There are clues for the readers.


About the Author:
Susanna Clarke was born in Nottingham in 1959 and spent her childhood in Northern England and Scotland.

She studied philosophy, politics, and economics at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford, and taught in Turin and Bilbao for two years, before becoming an editor at Simon and Schuster in Cambridge, working on their cookery list. She is the author of seven short stories and novellas, published in anthologies in the USA. One of her short stories, ‘The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse’ was published in a limited edition, and her story 'Mr. Simonelli or The Fairy Widower' was shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award 2001.

In 2004, her first novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, was published. It tells the story of two magicians in early 19th-century London and was shortlisted for the 2004 Guardian First Book Award and the Whitbread First Novel Award.

*Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing and Netgalley for the uncorrected proof in exchange for this unbiased review.
*This post is a part of the monthly linkups organized by Lovely Audiobooks! You can click here to check it out and be a part of it.


  1. I always fancied reading JSMN but somehow never got round to it, probably because it was so long - this new one sounds so intriguing though I think I might try it.

    1. I've put off JSMN for two years before finally finishing it on the 3rd try. So, I don't think anyone will fault you for putting it off as well. But if you get around it, it's a very good read. And yes, Piranesi is very intriguing. I hope you find your copy soon.