Susanna Clarke

Cindy Seip

Susanna Clarke’s debut novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award and The Guardian First Book Award, and won the British Book Awards Newcomer of the Year, the Hugo Award, and the World Fantasy Award. Her collection of short stories, The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories, was published in 2006. Piranesi (Bloomsbury Publishing) is set in a dreamlike alternative reality, where the house inhabited by its namesake protagonist is no ordinary building: Its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. And within this infinite labyrinth of halls, an ocean is imprisoned. Waves thunder up staircases and rooms are flooded in an instant, yet Piranesi lives to explore his unusual dwelling. He shares it with another – a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help in researching A Great and Secret Knowledge. And as Piranesi wanders through the never-ending corridors, a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one he has always known. Described as “rich, wondrous, full of aching joy and sweet sorrow,” by The New York Times, Clarke’s latest – shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award, the RSL Encore Award, and the Women’s Prize for Fiction – is hypnotic.