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Piranesi

by Susanna Clarke

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,0261623,643 (4.19)200
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.… (more)
  1. 130
    The Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis (Michael.Rimmer, KayCliff)
  2. 81
    Slade House by David Mitchell (CGlanovsky, jonathankws)
  3. 50
    House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (hubies)
    hubies: Piranesi is not scary, but in both books there is this mystifying, unpeopled world of impossible (and perhaps infinite) house-like space. Also: cryptic diary entries, unstable mind, short film as a plot device.
  4. 52
    The Secret History by Donna Tartt (sparemethecensor)
  5. 30
    Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges (jakebornheimer)
  6. 10
    The Affirmation by Christopher Priest (tetrachromat)
  7. 10
    The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Aleister Crowley-esque figure
  8. 00
    In the Labyrinth by Alain Robbe-Grillet (defaults)
    defaults: More desolate, minimalist and Beckettian. You may enjoy this if you enjoyed the first half of Piranesi but was a little let down by the second.
  9. 00
    The Memory Theater by Karin Tidbeck (Aquila)
    Aquila: There's a similarlity of background and form in these two books - alternate worlds and amnesia and intellectual cults. And yet they are quite different stories.
  10. 00
    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (MonarchVal)
    MonarchVal: Dark of night. Not everything explained.
  11. 13
    The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton (casvelyn)
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» See also 200 mentions

English (159)  German (1)  All languages (160)
Showing 1-5 of 159 (next | show all)
Piranesi recounts the story of the titular Piranesi, a researcher in a world filled entirely with endless marble halls containing myriad statues and little else. While Piranesi is genuinely curious about the world and all it contains, since he knows no other world, he often draws incorrect conclusions about things that don't quite fit. Things like used candy wrappers, human remains, and a companion who seems to come and go at will send up immediate red flags for the reader, but Piranesi tries to reason how such things fit into this world without suspecting that they may be from another. The book follows Piranesi as he inadvertantly discovers truths about himself while seeking truths about the world. The book definitely has a unique subject matter, and I found it enjoyable on the whole. ( )
  Phrim | Jun 22, 2022 |
My classical education is not nearly good enough to catch all (or probably even most) of the references. Luckily Clarke, for all her erudition, can also write a hell of a story. ( )
  IVLeafClover | Jun 21, 2022 |
Excellent. Perfect pitch for setting and tone. ( )
  tsgood | Jun 18, 2022 |
Given the fact that fantasy fiction is among my least favorite genres, I was stunned by how much I enjoyed Clarke’s imaginative and touching work. I was engaged in this bizarre tale from start to finish. The author’s execution is beautiful. The characters are compelling. The story is thought-provoking. ( )
  brianinbuffalo | Jun 18, 2022 |
I don't know why it took me forever to read this, it was such an amazing book. I highly enjoyed this, I thought that this was going to be a completely different style of writing. But I enjoyed what this book had to offer me. I recommend this to everyone. ( )
  mythical_library | Jun 15, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 159 (next | show all)
Here it is worth reflecting on the subject of Clarke's overt homage. The historical Piranesi, an 18th-century engraver, is celebrated for his intricate and oppressive visions of imaginary prisons and his veduta ideate, precise renderings of classical edifices set amid fantastic vistas. Goethe, it is said, was so taken with these that he found the real Rome greatly disappointing. Clarke fuses these themes, seducing us with imaginative grandeur only to sweep that vision away, revealing the monstrosities to which we can not only succumb but wholly surrender ourselves.

The result is a remarkable feat, not just of craft but of reinvention. Far from seeming burdened by her legacy, the Clarke we encounter here might be an unusually gifted newcomer unacquainted with her namesake's work. If there is a strand of continuity in this elegant and singular novel, it is in its central pre-occupation with the nature of fantasy itself. It remains a potent force, but one that can leave us - like Goethe among the ruins - forever disappointed by what is real.
 
How fantastic to have a bestselling novel with an index right at its heart.
added by KayCliff | editThe Indexer, Paula Clarke Bain
 

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Clarke, Susannaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ejiofor, ChiwetelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Finke, AstridTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mann, DavidCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Molnár, Berta EleonóraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"I am the great scholar, the magician, the adept, who is doing the experiment. Of course I need subjects to do it on".

The Magician's Nephew, C. S. Lewis
"People call me a philosopher or a scientist or an anthropologist. I am none of those things. I am an anamnesiologist. I study what has been forgotten. I divine what has disappeared utterly. I work with absences, with silences, with curious gaps between things. I am more of a magician than anything else."

Laurence Arne-Sayles, interview in The Secret Garden, May 1976
Dedication
For Colin
First words
When the Moon rose in the Third Northern Hall I went to the Ninth Vestibule to witness the joining of three Tides.
Quotations
The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

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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.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Piranesi has always lived in the House. It has thousands, if not an infinity, of rooms and corridors, imprisoning an ocean. A watery labyrinth. Once in a while he sees his friend, The Other, who needs Piranesi for his scientific research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. Piranesi records his findings in his journal. Then messages begin to appear; all is not what it seems. A terrible truth unravels as evidence emerges of another person and perhaps even another world outside the House’s walls.
Haiku summary
To Piranesi
the House is everything, but
changes are afoot.
(passion4reading)
The world in a house.
Let your imagination
fly and explore it.
(passion4reading)

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