Piranesi

hardcover, 272 pages

English language

Published Sept. 14, 2020 by Bloomsbury Publishing.

ISBN:
978-1-63557-563-7
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5 stars (14 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 …

4 editions

Well Worth Waiting For

5 stars

I've been excited by Susanna Clarke's writing since I first picked up Jonathan Strange, and when I first heard this book was coming out, I was suddenly aware that I hadn't heard about her in a long while! Some Googling revealed that she'd been suffering from severe health issues for years now, and this book was the result of more years of hardship than I could fathom. I preordered it immediately, and read it the moment it arrived.

Wow. So different, so quiet, and so, so good.

I've read plenty of reviews that disparage the book (usually because they felt the plot was thin or easily deduced, or because the narration was too simple or unrelatable), but I enjoyed the hell out of it. I was surprised when reveals came, I was drawn into the narration and worldbuilding, and I found the narrator endearing, if a bit alien in perspective. …

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.

Splendid tale, in a symbolic setting which is strikingly and evocatively minimal.

4 stars

Content warning Minor spoiler, which reveals a mid-book event which is very different in setting than the consistency of the opening chapters might suggest.

Great Bedtime Story

5 stars

Content warning Spoilers at the bottom under a cut

Most likely the best book I'll read this year

5 stars

As the title says, this will likely be the best book I'll read all year. It certainly was better than every book I read last year. I started the book yesterday evening and have basically spent my every waking moment since then reading it. I strongly recommend anyone who enjoys reading to pick this one up. It will be worth it.

I will not say anything on what it is actually about. The less you know, the more you will enjoy the book. Not really because of twists and turns but rather because you will see an astounding world laid out from the perspective of a very interesting main character.

The main thing this book reminded me of was the books I read in German class in my two last years at school. This is a very good thing (German was my favorite class). The book is fairly short and …

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.

Supremely evocative and furiously mindbending. Pretty much flawless.

5 stars

I picked this book because of its Hugo Award nomination. I had read 4 of the 6 nominations (or at least started 3 and finished 2 and passed on a fourth), so I wanted to read more.

If the name Piranesi evokes to you labyrinths, stairs, halls, chambers, statues, you're in luck. The whole book is filled to the brim with these. It's also filled with a man called Piranesi, who lives in these halls. Who wanders in them, content of being the only person in this world—or I should say, the 15th, but 13 of them are dead, and the Other is, well… a friend, for lack of a better word?

Susanna Clarke has written the most surprising book I've read in the last year, at least. The ending left me wanting more, but I hope there won't be, it would just dilute the purity of the House, and …

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