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Piranesi

By: Susanna Clarke
Narrated by: Chiwetel Ejiofor
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Publisher's Summary

Bloomsbury presents Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, read by Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Winner of the 2021 Audie Awards Audiobook of the Year.

Winner of the 2021 Women's Prize for Fiction.

Shortlisted for The Costa Novel of The Year Award.

A Sunday Times and New York Times best seller.

Chosen as A Book of The Year by the Times, Guardian, Observer, Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, I Paper, New Statesman, Spectator, Time Magazine, Times Literary Supplement, BBC Culture, Netgalley and the Church Times.

The spectacular new audiobook from the best-selling author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, ‘one of our greatest living authors,’ New York Magazine.

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.

©2020 Susanna Clarke (P)2020 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Critic Reviews

"What a world Susanna Clarke conjures into being.... Piranesi is an exquisite puzzle-box." (David Mitchell)

"It’s always great to have some fiction to heartily recommend, and while there’s been stiff competition this year, Piranesi by Susanna Clarke has won out in the end. A masterful work of weird fiction, it’s a novel that grips, perplexes and moves you, usually all at once!" (Observer, The Best Books of 2020)

"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)

What listeners say about Piranesi

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Be patient

It took me while to begin to understand piranesi’s universe of halls, but once I started to I didn’t want to leave. The exquisite prose and narration make this a book that washes over you, like the tides.

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9 people found this helpful

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Beautiful and profound

I think the author is a once in a generation talent. This is such a rich work, worthy of being called a modern myth. This reading for audible is sensitive and beautifully paced.

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Unusual

Spectacular performance by Chiwetel, he really did brought the characters into life. What a masterpiece, thriller in disguise.

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Extremely disappointing

I know there are MANY readers totally in love with Piranesi and that’s great, but it was not at all for me. The only reason I persisted to the end was because of all the amazing reviews… I desperately wanted to give up very early on and I should have! I thought there must have been SOMETHING good coming… there was not. For me the narrator made the whole situation far worse as he sounds like he is reading a children’s book, in that sort of kindly, condescending and SLOW manner one would use for a toddler listener.

The story idea had a lot of potential I think, but it just wanders around going nowhere and ending up with an extremely predictable conclusion. The prose feels very conceited, the author is so impressed with her own cleverness that she completely overlooks she is repeating herself blindly… we are forced to hear the same words and phrases hundreds of times! The repetition is almost unbearable… “vestibule”, “the year the albatross…”, “Matthew Rose Sorrensen”, “Great Western Hall” and more… delete these words and phrases and there may be a quarter of the book left.

In summary this book left me extremely frustrated and anxious and I will be seeking a refund.

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Stunning !

A truly beautiful book ! My head is full of stunning images of a stone building partly submerged in the sea, yet reaches into the clouds ! The draw to find that world is strong after reading this book. And Piranesi is such a beautiful soul. It gives me a sense of warmth and love for my own form of Piranesi within.
The narrators voice was smooth, soothing and seductive. It was a pleasure to listen to this story with Chiwetel Eliofor’s narration. His voice made it perfect.
Thank you, thank you, thank you !

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Beautiful beginings lead to mediocre end.

I absolutely loved this...at first. Honestly, I was obsessed. Beautifully poetic as only Susanna Clarke can write, and Ejiofor's narration is perfection. However, about 3/4 of the way through Clarke just chucks in an explanation that should have been, well, something. It just never eventuates and gives justice to the mysterious world created in the first few chapters. Character storylines are left incomplete, and the story just sort of meanders casually to a finish line that was seriously lacking in...anything really. It's hard to explain; It feels like Clarke gave up and just decided on 'eh, that'll do' in the end. A dissappointing middle to end, otherwise it would have been magical.

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Great book, wonderfully read.

This is a fascinating story which is beautifully read by Ejiofor. It’s quite captivating. In a few segments conversations supposedly recorded in Piranesi’s notebooks don’t ring true as being written records, but I overlooked that. Highly recommended.

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wow wow wow

Absolutely amazing. I take my hat off to the author. I could not put it down. What an amazing imagination sussana has. 10/10.

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Beautifully read, beautifully written

Piranesi is a beautifully written fiction that touches on concepts of perceived reality, personal truths and mental health. It’s brought to life so well by Chiwetel Ejiofor. I went into it with no prior knowledge, and was enamoured the whole time. Fully recommend.

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A jewel

I always intended to read Piranesi after reading Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, but I let some time go by as I didn’t really believe it could live up to that wonderful experience. This book is quite different - it is short, its characters are few in number and its world is far less expansive. It is not a sequel to the earlier novel, except in so far as that book prepares you to accept the conceit of parallel worlds. You do not need to have read JS&MN first. Piranesi caught my imagination in the first few pages and held me throughout. This book is spare and clean like a highly polished faceted stone, and I found myself savouring the construction of its world just as much as the development of its narrative. It also made me care for its central character enough to weep for him. The reading is flawless, and I am glad that I experienced this as an audiobook.

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