Cover for First-Line Fridays on Peachy Books showing a cue card with the typed quote: He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad. from Raphael Sabatini in Scaramouche
Blog Roll, Classic Fiction, First-Line Fridays, MEme Collections

First-Line Fridays | Susanna Clarke

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

🍑🍑🍑🍑 .5 / 5 Peaches


The mythical and magical twist together with the depravity of human greed and cruelty in this mind-bending tale by Susanna Clarke. From the start, you are whisked off to an unknown land, requiring suspension of disbelief and patience as you try to get your bearings; myself, an eager voyeur attempting to soak in every vestibule.

Piranesi is a story that, from my perspective, needs to be experienced from a place of not knowing, thus welcoming its entire execution, as any description could foster preconceived notions that would detract from its enchantment. 

Like with all art, there are different interpretations to be drawn and appreciated, so in an attempt to leave future readers unsullied, I will only offer some memorable quotes of sparse description.

This eccentric tale has been labelled a modern classic and is loved by many, but maintains its detractors who don’t see the beauty in its mystery, so consider yourself forewarned that if you are looking for a sure thing, this might not be it.


I spent a minute blissfully adrift at its beginning without ever feeling fully lost, as alluring visual scenery coupled with an unspecified trust for our protagonist had me relishing in the lead-up to its eventual reveal.


Clarke’s gorgeous imagery in the mythical aspects of the story kept me enthralled, and it was amazing how clear a picture of this other world we were offered in so few pages.


Striking prose and fantastical ideas wrapped up in a novella make this the perfect book to escape from the monotony of our busy schedules.


Susanna Clarke’s second novel, Piranesi, was the 2021 Women’s Prize winner, and in the video below, she shares her prize-winning statue, Bessie.


What side of the divide do you fall on, if you’ve read Piranesi; love it or hate it?

Signup below for the quarterly Just Peachy Newsletter and see another impressive quote from Piranesi, included in the Spring issue I’ll be publishing next week!