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Piranesi

Narrated by: Chiwetel Ejiofor
Length: 6 hrs and 58 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (63 ratings)

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Summary

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

The long-awaited return from the author of the multi-million copy best-selling Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

Piranesi lives in the House. Perhaps he always has? 

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell transported countless listeners into its mysterious world. It became an instant classic and has been hailed as one of the finest works of fiction of the 21st century. 

Fifteen years later, it is finally time to enter the House and meet Piranesi.

May your Paths be safe, your Floors unbroken, and may the House fill your eyes with Beauty.

©2020 Susanna Clarke (P)2020 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Critic reviews

"A book to look out for in 2020." (Guardian)

"Just read Susanna Clarke’s extraordinary Piranesi.... Like nothing else." (Justine Jordan, Guardian)

"Piranesi astonished me. It is a miraculous and luminous feat of storytelling, at once a gripping mystery, an adventure through a brilliant new fantasy world, and a deep meditation on the human condition: feeling lost, and being found. I already want to be back in its haunting and beautiful halls!" (Madeline Miller) 

What listeners say about Piranesi

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Breathtakingly beautiful

A wonderfully written story perfectly narrated. I could have listened forever. What an excellent follow-up to Strange and Norrell.

2 people found this helpful

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Bewitching

Strange, beautiful and filled with the magical. We spend our time with the delightful creature Piranesi who lives an odd life in an even odder place. Gradually we learn his story and although it's signalled well in advance it is no less beautiful for that. After a 17 year wait for a second book from Susanna Clarke it would be easy for it to be a disappointment. This most definitely is worth the weight. I found myself smiling often as I read, there is so much to enjoy here from the sublime writing to the gentle character of Piranesi himself and the odd and glittering world he inhabits. I recently re-read Mister Norrell and Jonathan Strange and loved it again, though it is punishingly long and could definitely have been shorter and just as good. This is book is a short and delightful thing. Strongly recommend.

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Not for me

I wanted to love this book, but I found it tedious. The narration was spot on, but the storyline was lacking for me.

1 person found this helpful

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Hoped would be as awesome as first books. It was.

From first line until the very end I was gripped, moved and entertained. Didn’t want it to end. Thanks!!

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Beautifully written but story transparent

I was so looking forward to this as her first book is one of my all time favourites. This was never going to be that but I was open minded, however, it was a tedious start and the plot is easily guessed from the first few chapters. The quality of the writing saves it and the imagination of Clarke is extra special and the narration is one of the best I’ve heard.

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Beautiful.

I adored it. I think it's probably an acquired taste, but I found it very special. Short but somehow contained so much. Strange, lonely, ethereal, evocative. Good narration.

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Beautiful and Brilliant

Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi is compelling, clever, and couldn’t be a more fitting return for the the author who sixteen years ago brought us the brilliant Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. A modern allegoric tale that works beautifully on all its levels; I’ve never regretted my spoiler-free approach to reviews more, as I really want to discuss the allegory at the heart of this intriguing story. Simultaneously simple and complex, every piece seems to have its place both on the surface and below, the labyrinth setting layered and reflected in characters and themes. As I say, it seems the perfect return for Clarke and it made me wonder, on top of the dominant metaphor, how much her own experience was was imbued into the foundation. She’d been so wildly successful with Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, then became ill, leading to the long gap between novels. As someone who’s followed a similar (if more humble) path, I can’t help but feel this novel may be closer to the author’s heart and mind than perhaps any of us can know. But, this theory is another indicator of the brilliance of the book—it’s one of the stories that will probably mean something different to everyone, allowing readers to find in it pieces of themselves, their own rooms to explore within their own labyrinthine interior worlds. It’s the first book I’ve heard narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor and I hope it won’t be the last—his voice is so easy to listen to and his intonation is lovely and subtle. Not all actors are fantastic narrators, but he definitely is. I wholeheartedly recommend this book.

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Mysterious and Beautiful

I loved Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell so I was excited to read this. It didn’t disappoint. It’s the kind of book that you really can’t describe without spoiling it, so I won’t, but it is really beautiful storytelling and thoroughly enjoyable. Chiwetel Ejiofor’s narration is lovely too. I can imagine I’ll listen to this again. Recommended!

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  • Mark
  • 17-09-20

Strange & Pointless

I read all the raving reviews so I went back & listened to it a 2nd time. I wanted more of “Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” , but this is nothing like that. The world created in this book is not magical, but just boring. The narration was great. I wanted to like it after reading the reviews, but it just isn’t for me.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Elisa D
  • 16-09-20

Never heard a story like this one, but hoped to

I’ve been waiting for this story for so long, even though I had no idea what Susanna Clarke would craft next. But here she is, offering yet another world that is complex and eerie but beautiful and worthy of spending time in. Piranesi and his labyrinth will break your heart then put it back together again. ‘The beauty of the House is immeasurable; it’s kindness infinite.’

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-09-20

Random Scenes Strung Together

Do not both reading this book. The author has strung together random scenes and not bothered to create a story. It's a complete mess.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Geonn W. Cannon
  • 16-09-20

Magnificent

A magical book, almost a fairy tale, with amazing writing enhanced by perfect narration. Relatively short but massive in its weight. I really loved this story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Brody w.
  • 16-09-20

Hauntingly Beautiful

I love this book. it was deep and beautiful and sad. I finished it in one day and this story will stay with me forever.

1 person found this helpful

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  • D. Lockwood
  • 26-09-20

Like a view from Myst

Through the first half of this book I was struck by the similarity in tone to the computer game of some years ago; Myst. Indeed, this novel begins as a disorienting mystery and evolves into something resembling "Dr, Strange and Mr. Norell", the authors premier effort. If you don't mind spending a few hours feeling as if you are uninitiated and "in the dark" fear not fore all will be revealed. In fact, the very astute will guess some of the "surprises" .

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  • Timothy
  • 26-09-20

An instant classic

It has become increasingly rare to be able to experience a new classic just as it has been produced. Piranesi is one of those classics. Like the Eleanor Rigby, Alice in Wonderland, The Little Prince, Guernica or Gymnopédie, you are immediately aware from the first moment of contact that you are in the presence of something profound and lasting that is going to remain part of our collective awareness for many, many years to come. Piranesi is a mysterious, touching wonderment, a poetic and visionary masterpiece. Reading it creates a dream world within that continues to unfold and resonate with your own dreams and questions long after you have put the book down. Susanna Clarke is a master wordsmith at the peak of her craft, leaving out all unnecessary descriptions and explanations, allowing the visions to stand for themselves and the questions to arise of their own accord and seek their own answers within your awareness. And ultimately it is a bittersweet celebration of the poignant beauty and mystery of simply being. The fact that she managed to create Piranesi while suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome makes the achievement all the more amazing. Serendipitously, this exquisite poetic fable is here further enhanced by Chiwetel Ejiofor’s narration. His diction, presentation and emotion are all perfect. Once you have heard it, it would be impossible to imagine anyone else doing Piranesi justice. Both the book itself and this audiobook version of it are classics for the ages.

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  • Jeremy
  • 25-09-20

All the Stars

This is a magnificent story, and a brilliant performance. I know that it shall be a bedtime story I return to many times through the years. Like the protagonist, part of me will always now reside in the Eternal House.

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  • Geoffrey Joslyn
  • 25-09-20

Hauntingly beautiful !

You will be cast into another world and find sweet relief from “reality”. The narrator makes it so.

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  • Ariana Wood
  • 24-09-20

a true follow up to Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel

Wow. To know what trauma can mean for a person. An utter triumph. Susanna Clarke may be the fantasy Proust of our generation.