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Podcast: Susanna Clarke on Piranesi, illness, and faith

10 December 2020

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Piranesi, the long-awaited second novel by Susanna Clarke, has been published to critical acclaim. Last month, it was shortlisted for the 2020 Costa Book Awards.

Clarke’s 2004 novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, has sold more than four million copies worldwide and been adapted into a BBC television series. After its publication, Clarke suffered from a debilitating illness which made it difficult for her to write.

On this week’s podcast, Sarah Lothian interviews Susanna Clarke about how she came to write Piranesi and about how her faith has developed over the course of her illness.

She says: “I remember someone once saying that Christianity was very simple. And I thought, ‘Well, it might have a simplicity, but it’s not a simplicity that, I think, is necessarily easily grasped by human beings.’

“I feel I’m struggling towards faith, a simpler, more childlike faith, but I’m trying to get rid of all the neuroses and the difficulties that have accumulated like barnacles, and scrape them off and get back to simplicity.”

Piranesi is published by Bloomsbury at £14.99 in hardback (Church Times Bookshop £13.49).

Click the play button above to listen to this podcast. You can also listen to 
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