Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:
A SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER <br> A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER <br> SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA NOVEL OF THE YEAR AWARD <br> CHOSEN AS A BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE THE TIMES , GUARDIAN , OBSERVER , DAILY TELEGRAP H, FINANCIAL TIMES , i PAPER , NEW STATESMAN , SPECTATOR , TIME MAGAZINE , TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT , BBC CULTURE, NETGALLEY AND THE CHURCH TIMES <br> <br> The spectacular new novel from the bestselling author of JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL, 'one of our greatest living authors' New York Magazine <br> Piranesi lives in the House. Perhaps he always has. <br> 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.<br> 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?<br> Lost texts must be found; secrets must be uncovered. The world that Piranesi thought he knew is becoming strange and dangerous.<br> <br> The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite. <br> <br> *****<br> <br> 'What a world Susanna Clarke conjures into being - Piranesi is an exquisite puzzle-box' DAVID MITCHELL<br> 'It subverts expectations throughout - Utterly otherworldly' Guardian <br> 'Piranesi astonished me. It is a miraculous and luminous feat of storytelling' MADELINE MILLER<br> 'Brilliantly singular' Sunday Times <br> 'A gorgeous, spellbinding mystery - This book is a treasure, washed up upon a forgotten shore, waiting to be discovered' ERIN MORGENSTERN<br> 'Head-spinning - Fully imagined and richly evoked' Telegraph
"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 and waterlilies 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."-- Publisher.
Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
Clarke's (Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell) deftly written new novel is the diary of the main character, Piranesi, a man living in a labyrinthine building with infinite rooms full of enormous statues. He meets one other person, a mysterious figure called the Other, who is obsessed with finding the Great & Secret Knowledge. The Other enlists Piranesi's help to map the building and locate the knowledge. But as Piranesi's love of the building grows, so, too, does his understanding of who he is and how he got there. The Other's true intentions are gradually revealed when another being, possibly from a distant world, contacts Piranesi. Once Piranesi knows the truth, he must make decisions that will overturn his reality. Piranesi is an empathetic character, gullible to a fault, but only because of his limited worldview. VERDICT Clarke creates an immersive world that readers can almost believe exists. This is a solid crossover pick for readers whose appreciation of magical fantasy leans toward V.E. Schwab or Erin Morgenstern.--Lucy Roehrig, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI
Publishers Weekly Review
Clarke wraps a twisty mystery inside a metaphysical fantasy in her extraordinary new novel, her first since 2004's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. The story unfolds as journal entries written by the eponymous narrator, who, along with an enigmatic master known as the Other (and 13 skeletons whom Piranesi regards as persons) inhabits the House, a vast, labyrinthine structure of statue-adorned halls and vestibules. So immense is the House that its many parts support their own internal climates, all of which Piranesi vividly describes ("I squeezed myself into the Woman's Niche and waited until I heard the Tides roaring in the Lower Halls and felt the Walls vibrating with the force of what was about to happen"). Meanwhile, the Other is pursuing the "Great and Secret Knowledge" of the ancients. After the Other worriedly asks Piranesi if he's seen in the house a person they refer to as 16, Piranesi's curiosity is piqued, and all the more so after the Other instructs him to hide. In their discussions about 16, it becomes increasingly clear the Other is gaslighting Piranesi about his memory, their relationship, and the reality they share. With great subtlety, Clarke gradually elaborates an explanatory backstory to her tale's events and reveals sinister occult machinations that build to a crescendo of genuine horror. This superbly told tale is sure to be recognized as one of the year's most inventive novels. (Sept.)
In her highly distilled and rarefied first novel since her Hugo Award--winning debut, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (2004), Clarke posits another dynamic between a seeming mentor and mentee. But the realm in which their increasingly suspect relationship unspools is a bizarre and baffling one that we encounter through the journals kept by Clarke's earnest, spiritually creative narrator. He doesn't think Piranesi is his name, but that's what he's called by the older man he dubs the Other because he believes they are the only two people left alive. The actual Piranesi was an eighteenth-century Italian artist who created etchings of monumental and menacing architectural labyrinths, and, indeed, the exceedingly strange world Clarke has invented for her Piranesi, a self-described scientist and explorer, is a vast maze inexplicably populated by birds and gigantic statues and through which tides rise and fall, smashing against the walls. Threadbare Piranesi lives a spare, precarious existence, a noble innocent who believes that he has "a duty to bear witness to the splendors of the World," while the Other, clearly prosperous and busy tapping at his "shining device," is obsessed with seizing the power of "Great and Secret Knowledge." As questions multiply and suspense mounts in this spellbinding, occult puzzle of a fable, one begins to wonder if perhaps the reverence, kindness, and gratitude practiced by Clarke's enchanting and resilient hero aren't all the wisdom one truly needs.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Clarke's international sensation, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, also a BBC series, has engendered an enormous fan base eagerly awaiting her new book.
Kirkus Book Review
The much-anticipated second novel from the author of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (2004). The narrator of this novel answers to the name "Piranesi" even though he suspects that it's not his name. This name was chosen for him by the Other, the only living person Piranesi has encountered during his extensive explorations of the House. Readers who recognize Piranesi as the name of an Italian artist known for his etchings of Roman ruins and imaginary prisons might recognize this as a cruel joke that the Other enjoys at the expense of the novel's protagonist. It is that, but the name is also a helpful clue for readers trying to situate themselves in the world Clarke has created. The character known as Piranesi lives within a Classical structure of endless, inescapable halls occasionally inundated by the sea. These halls are inhabited by statues that seem to be allegories--a woman carrying a beehive; a dog-fox teaching two squirrels and two satyrs; two children laughing, one of them carrying a flute--but the meaning of these images is opaque. Piranesi is happy to let the statues simply be. With her second novel, Clarke invokes tropes that have fueled a century of surrealist and fantasy fiction as well as movies, television series, and even video games. At the foundation of this story is an idea at least as old as Chaucer: Our world was once filled with magic, but the magic has drained away. Clarke imagines where all that magic goes when it leaves our world and what it would be like to be trapped in that place. Piranesi is a naif, and there's much that readers understand before he does. But readers who accompany him as he learns to understand himself will see magic returning to our world. Weird and haunting and excellent. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.