Audiobooks, ratings, reviews (beta)



albatros, decorative

Author: Susanna Clarke –

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc –

Genre: Fantasy –

Overall rating: 5/5 –

Writing: 5/5 –

Duration: 6:58 h (medium) –

Narrator: Chiwetel Ejiofor –

Narrator/performance: 5/5 –

Impressions: 5/5 –

Performance errors: 1/5 –

Complexity/reading level: 5/5 –

Audience: Adult


It is such a pity that you can read this book and be surprised by it only once. I will probably not even try it for the second time as my audiobook provider took the title off the list (it is probably too expensive for them)… It is an ingenious work of art and imagination. It was published in 2020 and, in 2021, received the Women’s Prize for Fiction. This book probably deserves more praise.

“Piranesi” is, in some ways, similar to “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett. That said, I believe it is not a book for a young reader (especially not for young adults). There are some elements of it which I find overly grim and dangerous for adolescents, with their risk of depression, feelings of insecurity and the general lack of adequate role models. Without revealing too much, I can say that the story here is built around psychological portraits. However, where Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was predictable, Susanna Clarke is anything but. There are no real archetypes here, only outliers. The story is possible to follow despite that, probably because it is layered with few props and a lot of internal dialogue featuring actual material objects. We are able to understand what happens – if not how or why it does. We are able to listen – even if we cannot always hear. I loved certain features of the main character – the stoicism, the aptitude for survival, the critical thought. The protagonist is well worth your time as a human being which makes the effort or following him more meaningful.

Landscape painted in this work will give you either nightmares or some kind of solace, I am not sure which. It probably depends on the reader. The world feels a little like a creation of Ursula K. Le Guin, though I am not confident why that is. It may have something to do with the way the main character interacts with it (the world as an entity, an interlocutor).

This audiobook was performed just so, without too much fuss. The narrator did not spoil or interfere with the story. It was not easy to achieve with this kind of literary narration (or perhaps the narrator did not know the entire book before recording?). Anyway, one to recommend.

Piranesi audiobook cover

An expensive cover which reminds me that the book was recently deleted from my app… I do not like the way the title looks – it is really not a book for children (although better if they read it than adolescents). I think the cover misses the point. Yet it is very pretty, one cannot argue with that.

Cover Photo by Maurice Garlet on Unsplash