A dazzling fable about loneliness: Piranesi, by Susanna Clarke, reviewed

Susanna Clarke is a member of the elite group of authors who don’t write enough. In 2004, the bestselling debut from a cookery book editor seemed to promise an unfailing fountain of the creative imagination: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, a three-volume reworking of Britain’s military tussle with Napoleon, but with added fairies, felt like Jane Austen brewed up with spells and a dash of the Brontës’ Angria sagas. A short story collection, The Ladies of Grace Adieu, set in the same eerie territory, followed, and since then — silence. Piranesi is a publishing event, therefore. Austere and classical, it has no fairies but plenty of magic. The title character