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Susanna Clarke Divines Magic In Long-Awaited Novel ‘Piranesi’

Piranesi, by Susanna Clarke

Bloomsbury Publishing

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Bloomsbury Publishing

Piranesi, by Susanna Clarke

Bloomsbury Publishing

What is the nature of magic? What is the nature of reason? Must one cancel out the other? And which is cloaked in a greater illusion? In her new novel Piranesi, British writer Susanna Clarke limns a magic far more intrinsic than the kind commanded through spells; a magic that is seemingly part of the fabric of the universe and as powerful as a cosmic engine — yet fragile nonetheless. Clarke stunned readers 16 years ago with her mesmerizing tale of magic’s return to England in her debut novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. The book became an international bestseller, and was followed by a collection of short stories, The Ladies of Grace Adieu. Then those of us who fell in love with her worlds had a desperately long wait. (Thankfully not nearly as long as those awaiting magic’s return in Jonathan Strange.) Our title character, Piranesi, is another strange fellow. He lives in a world where the words for crisps, biscuits a
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