Book Review: Piranesi

Hi guys! Sorry it’s been it’s been a little while I’ve been a bit tired! But I finally finished another book that I felt like I could review – and that is none other than Piranesi by Susanna Clarke. I’ve not read Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell yet, so this is my first book by Susanna. I am grateful it’s a much shorter book than her previous that’s for sure!

In the books I’ve read, the only book similar to Piranesi is The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. Both books present a different world accessible to only those that know how in an ordinary, modern world. Piranesi is short, but packs in a mysterious story full of strange events and puzzles for the reader to figure out. I’m not sure any of the revelations in the book came as a huge twist or surprise for me, but I enjoyed the book a lot.

Star rating: 5 stars

Piranesi is alone in a House – not an ordinary house, but a House with lots of different rooms that span kilometres. His only company is The Other, another man who Piranesi sees a few times a week. The House is full of many statues and sometimes the Tides sweep in and Piranesi has to run for cover and hope he doesn’t drown.

For a concept that’s quite abstract, I found the book to be very accessible. Susanna’s writing is very smooth and addictive in its descriptiveness. Piranesi exudes innocence and although said to be in his thirties, his narration (through journal entries) is very child like. I loved reading how he put his own story together page by page.

There are a small number of characters in the book, which I enjoyed because it gave me something to focus on in a bizarre world with a strange plot. The world itself would have been extraordinarily unique if I hadn’t already read The Starless Sea. It was interesting to see Piranesi use his incredible knowledge of the House, and to watch his interactions with The Other Develop.

Overall this was an intriguing book that I’m glad I picked up. It’s short but takes a while to read due to the complexity and pace, but I’d recommend it if you like abstract ideas with a little magic thrown in.

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