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Piranesi cover art

Piranesi

By: Susanna Clarke
Narrated by: Chiwetel Ejiofor
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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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Superb

A writer trusting their vision is a wonderful thing to read and hear. Beyond lightweight fantasy or heavy-handed allegory, this novel touched something deep inside me. It's possible to escape, she seems to say, while avoiding escapism. It's possible to be free no matter the limitations placed on us.

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Beautiful, as compelling as it is peaceful

A really wonderful world between genres, Philosophy, epistemology, with a dramatic and compelling story. I loved this book. I finished it and felt a bit bereft that I was no longer in that beautiful world of the House.

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Truly a one-off

Beautifully written and performed. Easy read. Easy listen. Like no other. Slow pace. Few characters to get to grips with. Builds curiosity as the story unfolds. Excellent ending. A book not to be forgotten.

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unexpected and beautiful

I did not anticipate that I will like this book. It only hit me midway that it is amazing, and despite the sci fi plot which revealed itself unexpectedly, every bit of the book is superbly crafted.

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One of the most beautiful and memorable listens.

There are no spoilers in this review. This is a beautiful book, full of exceptionally wonderful, lovely images that are clear, and so apparently simple but the meaning is layered and full of richness that will satisfy any reader's appetite. The reading is hypnotic and held my attention avidlyI could stop listening to it- have it on my kindle as well but Ejiofor reads it in such a compelling and clear voice that it added to the book superbly. I really really enjoyed this- it certainly bears a second probably third listen. I made sure I didn't read the blurb so I had no idea what I was going to experience and I think that meant I was very open to the genre and concepts in it, so the House was all the world and the halls and chambers, staircases with the sea washing through and around it transported me to this place of Peace that I completely understood Piranesi's views throughout the novel. It's the quality of the descriptions, the pace and contrasting 'voices' that made this such a wonderfully descriptive novel without overloading the reader with hyperbole or dense imagery- I won't give anything away but it's the most perfect mix of genres and a stunning book.

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Utterly enchanting and entrancing.

What a wonderful story. Fantasy stories would not usually be my first, second or third choice but this book has opened my eyes.
The narration is subtle and spellbinding. Chiwetel Ejiofor's voice is rich, textured and full of warmth. He captures the spirit of Piranesi, above all, and his quiet and resourceful dignity.

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Simply beautiful

A fascinating story, beautifully narrated. A brilliant introduction to audio books for those looking for a shorter story that does not lack in intrigue and fascination.

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Wonderful

A beautiful listen with rich imagery. Enjoyed it immensely. The narrator’s mellifluous tones and relaxing prosody made this a perfect way to unwind. It takes the reader through turns of a labyrinth of narrative, ineluctably to its solution: salvation.

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Incredible storytelling, perfectly paced

This may be my favourite Audible purchase. I devoured it over the course of three warm evenings at the bottom of my garden, in my favourite chair, with the sun on my face.

A slower start brings such life to the protagonist; a loveable innocence so rare in fiction. The move from a story completely abstract and incomprehensible to one far more human was so well paced it had me smiling and frowning and squinting in confusing all at the same time.

I don't remember a story drawing such an emotional response from me and, what's more, I am inconsolably disappointed that the House is not real. Susanna Clarke has invented a world far too beautiful.

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Pure Magic

I don't know what took me so long to pick up this book. It was spellbinding.

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