Piranesi

Susanna Clarke

fiction fantasy
adventurous challenging mysterious medium-paced

272 pages | first published 2020

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 Piranesi has always known.

For readers of Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane and fans of Madeline Miller's Circe, Piranesi introduces an astonishing new world, an infinite labyrinth, full of startling images and surreal beauty, haunted by the tides and the clouds.

What the community thinks

summary of 1184 ratings (see reviews)

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Moods

mysterious 92%
reflective 51%
adventurous 47%
dark 29%
challenging 24%
emotional 21%
hopeful 17%
tense 13%
inspiring 12%
sad 12%
relaxing 6%
funny 4%
lighthearted 2%
informative 0%

Pace

medium 61%
slow 20%
fast 18%

Plot- or character-driven?

A mix: 46% | Character: 30% | Plot: 23%

Strong character development?

Yes: 64% | It's complicated: 28% | No: 5% | N/A: 0%

Loveable characters?

Yes: 62% | It's complicated: 29% | No: 6% | N/A: 1%

Diverse cast of characters?

No: 44% | It's complicated: 24% | Yes: 23% | N/A: 7%

Flaws of characters a main focus?

Yes: 53% | It's complicated: 27% | No: 15% | N/A: 3%

Average rating

4.41