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4.33  ·  Rating details ·  37,348 ratings  ·  7,246 reviews
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 understan ...more
Hardcover, 250 pages
Published September 15th 2020 by Bloomsbury
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Linda Sexauer I was beyond excited when I learned about this book, and when it finally came out I was dismayed by how slim it is. I put off reading it for a couple …moreI was beyond excited when I learned about this book, and when it finally came out I was dismayed by how slim it is. I put off reading it for a couple months. I finally gave in last weekend, and my goodness, I cannot remember when I was so utter transported and delighted by a story. In my opinion it is perfect in every way. Lyrical, imaginative, poetic, philosophical, suspenseful. Especially during this crazy year, this book was a balm to my soul. I couldn't recommend it more highly.(less)

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Average rating 4.33  · 
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Maggie Stiefvater
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommended, adult
Well, I guess it is time to say that Susanna Clarke's slender little PIRANESI is my favorite novel of possibly the last five years.

I could write spoilery essays upon essays about its use of metaphor for ambition, identity, religion.

I'm so delighted.

If my novella "Opal" drove you batty, it might also drive you batty for similar reasons, but personally, it gave me everything I wanted.

I don't want to say too much more because the beauty of this puzzle box is in the opening, but highly recommended
Muhtasin Oyshik
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
Strange, unique, and enjoyable. To be honest, starting didn't go well for me as I couldn't connect myself to the story or the world. But later it turned into a captivating story. Impressive worldbuilding, engaging characters, and excellent storytelling. It's a definitely unique and enjoyable read.
It does not matter that you do not understand the reason. You are the Beloved Child of the House. Be comforted.

Strange beautiful story.
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
A brand new, second fantasy novel from the author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell - finally!! It's excellent, and VERY different from Jonathan Strange (for one thing, it's less than 250 pages). Review first posted on Fantasy Literature (along with my co-reviewer Bill's excellent review, which I reference a couple of times below):

I have to say I was a smidgen disappointed to get to the end of Piranesi and not have seen a single footnote (I’m quite fond of all of the quasi-scholarly, tongue-in-c
“The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite.”

First of all, for those who - like me - read the blurb for this book, noted the mention of “the house with the ocean imprisoned in it” and automatically assumed that “Piranesi” has something to do with piranhas (because ocean = fish, right?) — yeah, that’s certainly not what the story is about. Regrettably, there’s not a single piranha in sight.
This is like a dream, slow, strange and intensely atmospheric, unbelievably i
Jan 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
this story reminded me of ‘house of leaves,’ in the most oddly beautiful way.

the beginning is tediously meticulous, just as the MC is, and i wasnt sure i was enjoying it. but over time, the strange, mythical, and quite sad nature of the story really starts to come through. i was actually quite stunned by how attached to piranesi i got and how melancholic the ending made me.

im not sure what else i can say except this was a pleasant surprise.

4 stars
Sep 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A mindbending, metaphysical, Borgeian capriccio

Piranesi is one intriguing, beautiful puzzle. Opening with an epigraph from The Magician's Nephew the story begins in a huge room lined with marble statues that instantly reminded me of Charn’s Hall of Images. From there, the Narnian easter eggs pile up—fauns, a sinister fellow named Ketterley—but Piranesi is something all its own.

With half-drowned, neverending halls filled with classical statuary, the mysterious setting evokes everything from Olym
Nilufer Ozmekik
Sep 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Is it possible not to suffer from claustrophobia when you’re reading a story make you feel trapped in a palace consists of endless labyrinth of halls and vestibules? Nope, you cannot.

This book is a complex, challenging puzzle you need to solve and it takes so much mental, intellectual energy to get involved into story. The author’s storytelling technique is unique and after waiting for eternity to read her second work, she can honestly surprise us with different genre choices and dazzling writi
Sep 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
I almost DNFed this one, and maybe I should have, but in the end I wanted to be able to fully review this book and I don’t think it’s fair to do that only having read half of it.

This is a book that falls into a category I’ve come to describe as for A Certain Kind of Reader®. Maybe that’s a phrase you’ve heard before, but for me it namely means that most readers will not like it, but a segment of them will LOVE it. If you’re a Bestsellers reader, you probably won’t like this. If you’re a Book Clu
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Oct 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ by: Kaora
Holy shite! That’s was bloody brilliant!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Jessica Woodbury
If at all possible, this is the kind of book you should go into knowing as little as possible about it. It can be confusing and even disorienting at first, but it's a book that is very smart about how it is going to teach you what it is, so I recommend letting the book do that rather than any reviews or jacket copy.

So here's my totally non-info-about-the-book review to hopefully give you an idea of whether it will be a good one for you.

First: do not approach this book expecting it to be anythin
Oct 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's easy to get lost in this fantasy World of hallways, vestibules, staircases and statues but luckily Piranesi is there to lead the way.

Personally I really enjoyed this book.
But it is very subjective. So much of the symbolism and imagery is ambiguous and different readers will interpret it in different ways - or not at all.

𝘈𝘭𝘭 𝘢𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘦 𝘥𝘰𝘰𝘳𝘴 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘨𝘢𝘯 𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘐 𝘬𝘯𝘦𝘸 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘐 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘥, 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘩 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘨𝘰𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘯 𝘧𝘭𝘰𝘸𝘴. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘦𝘥𝘨𝘦𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘥𝘰𝘰𝘳 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘧𝘳𝘢𝘺𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘸
Dec 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was in a house with many rooms. The sea sweeps through the house. Sometimes it swept over me, but always I was saved.

An infinite labyrinth with an ocean inside, academic murder mysteries, many-worlds theories--Piranesi by Susanna Clarke has it all. This tightly written novel is endlessly engaging and so cinematic it feels more like something I have watched than read, which is blissful as I cannot stop thinking of the endless halls of The House with it’s many statues, changing weather pattern
Charlotte May
“The beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite.”

Ok, this was a very surreal read and had quite an impact for such a short novel.

Piranesi lives in the House. A labyrinth of halls filled with statues and tides that sweep through at regular intervals.

He doesn’t remember anything other than the House and he meets regularly with his friend The Other where they work together to learn The Great and Secret Knowledge.

Piranesi keeps diaries of his observations, but when he notices pa
Spencer Orey
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Pretty much anything I could write about this book would be a spoiler, so I will keep this short and say, if you like strange and magical stories, this one is wonderful. I loved it.

I will also join my voice to the chorus of fans who recommend that you read as little as you can about the book before starting it so that you can fully enjoy the unfolding strangeness.

For writers, this book is a masterclass in point of view. There are incredible disconnects between the information of the world and t
Francis Spufford
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm lucky enough to have read this. It is wonderful, and strange, and not at all like Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell except in being brilliant. I can't really say any more than that. The title is a major visual clue, though... ...more
Mesmerizing, with an impossible house stretching everywhere and only two persons present. However in the end rather a rather conventional tale
He always thinks in terms of utility. He cannot imagine why anything should exist if he cannot make use of it.

At the start of the book we see a quote from The Magician's Nephew from C.S. Lewis and some concepts from that book come neatly back in Piranesi. The titular character and narrator (despite that he has an awareness it is not truly his name) roams i
Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
19/25 (76%) 4 stars.
'The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite.'


'Piranesi' is the second Susanna Clarke novel I've read, and it's completely different from Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Not only is her second novel a lot shorter than her massive debut, Susanna Clarke is also brave enough to write an altogether different book with a new setting, new characters, and an intriguing, mysterious plot. And while it's still beautiful, her writing is completely different, too.

Jan 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
When I picked up this book, my immediate thought was, I’m going to hate this. 😬 I’m not the type to enjoy overly fiction-esc worlds, with very little explanation, that requires a lot of imagination to picture on your own. 🤓 The first 1/3 of this book was rough for me. I almost threw in the towel. I’m actually glad I stuck with it. This book is a trip. I’m still not 100% sure what was really going on. But, I think that’s the point. 🤔 I found myself thinking about this book when not reading it, tr ...more
Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Weird, but very good book by the author of Jonathon Strange & Mr. Norrell.

Reminiscent of Borges, China Mieville or Blake Crouch, this somewhat urban fantasy describes an unusual alternate reality. Like commenting upon the best writing of Crouch, this reviewer is hesitant to say too much as part of the great charm of this book is in the reader’s unraveling of the mystery.

We are introduced to a first-person narrator, Piranesi, though he observes in an aside that he does not think this is his real
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
The Paradox Book of Paradoxes.

The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite. (c)
‘Do the Statues exist because they embody the Ideas and Knowledge that flowed out of the other World into this one?’ (c)
… may your Paths be safe … your Floors unbroken and may the House fill your eyes with Beauty.’ (c)

The opening is the weakest I've ever seen anywhere. At the beginning I was flabbergasted at how bad the setting is. Just imagine: in the middle of nowhere sits an endless hotel h
(4.5) When I started Piranesi, I have to admit I wasn't sure about it. The opening chapter is titled 'When the Moon rose in the Third Northern Hall I went to the Ninth Vestibule'. It's written in a particular style, usually found in fantasy or harder SF, which involves a lot of random proper nouns, and I always struggle with that, not least because it immediately gives rise to questions about the logic of how things are named/referred to. (Why is Dog capitalised but bird not; why is it title cas ...more
Ron Charles
In 2004, Susanna Clarke’s debut, “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell,” burst from a cloud of pixie dust. An 800-page work of historical fantasy about two magicians in 19th-century England, the novel was quickly dubbed “Harry Potter for adults” and could have vanished in the dark woods of Hogwarts knockoffs. But Clarke’s literary ancestor is not really J.K. Rowling, it’s Charles Dickens, and even readers who resisted fantasy fell under her spell. My copy of “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell” still shimme ...more
Nomadic Reader (Baba Yaga)
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Piranesi is fantasy in its purest form. It’s a dreamlike tale stemming from the mind of a visionary author, an author so familiar with genre tropes that she manipulates and subverts them with incredible ease.

If you, like me, have wondered why everyone seems to be at a loss for words when it comes to describing the plot of this book, be aware that you’ll probably have the same reaction after reading it: there is simply no easy way to pitch it, no quick blurb to draw readers in.
It starts off as a
Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Listen. I know that what I'm about to write is going to sound obnoxious and so, so smug. I know how I sound, and I know how annoying it is when reviewers do this.

But seriously: do not read the plot description for Piranesi. Go into it knowing as little about the plot as you possibly can. Half the fun of reading this book is figuring out, as you read, where this story takes place and what's going on.

Honestly my only complaint (and the only non-spoilery thing I can write about the book, because
Jun 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
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DNF @25%

I am not an expert when it comes to the author’s work. I haven’t read Susanna’s well acclaimed Jonathan Strange & Mr.Norell novel. I was excited when I saw this book because it has such a good synopsis, it sounded whimsical and the cover gave me Greek God vibes which are my favorite. Unfortunately I DNFed it. I have checked the current ratings and I am only the third person who gave it a 1 star so this is an unpopular opinion for sure. I know ma
Richard Derus
Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly stupendously satisfying.

More later.
Rating: 4.9* of five

When you begin this voyage into the unknown, you're lulled into a sense of Rightness by this author's almost-familiar archaic language...if one has read [Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell], this feels similar enough to make the initial impression one of either familiar immersion in warm water or an icy-cold dash of horrified repulsion and fear and desire to escape.

Indeed, I found it so simple, so direct, that I suspected a tr
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
5ish stars.

Everyone knows picking favorite books is as unthinkable as picking favorite children. I've got one kid and a second on the way so I guess soon I'll finally figure out what that really means. Regardless, I can say unequivocally that Clarke's novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is one of my favorites. All-time top 5. It's perfect.

To say I was anticipating Clarke's follow-up is like saying I think it would be "cool" to win the Powerball jackpot. 15 years later, here is this little gem.
Prerna (on semi-hiatus)
The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite.

While reading this book I was pleasantly reminded of philosopher David Lewis's possible worlds theory, the idea that all possible versions of this world exist simultaneously, infinitely. The theory posits that each of these worlds is as concrete and real as ours, and ours is unique simply because we live in it.

Piranesi, the eponymous character, lives in one such world. A world that to readers familiar with Giovanni Battista Piranesi'
Feb 17, 2021 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition

Or is it pee-ra-nay-see!?

"the other world, where architecture and oceans were muddled together..."

(Mermaid by the sea - Source

(Giovanni Piranesi,

From the start of this book to the finish, we are transported into a truly enormous house full of sunken rooms, many statues, fish, and birds -- a realm of nature, and an impossibly huge house.

Our narrator, far from being a prime candidate for truly reliable storytelling, is nonetheless a very objective and careful natural philosopher. The descriptions of this world are beyond beautiful.

Only one other, if you don't count 13 corpses, is his company during most of the novel. The Other is
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Susanna Clarke was born in Nottingham in 1959. A nomadic childhood was spent in towns in Northern England and Scotland. She was educated at St Hilda's College, Oxford, and has worked in various areas of non-fiction publishing, including Gordon Fraser and Quarto. 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 ...more

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