Monday, September 13, 2021

Book Review: Piranesi

Piranesi 
by Susanna Clarke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Weird, weird. Kind of like the movie Inception, the moment I put this down I wanted to reread it knowing what I know now. This is a very odd story; but very good. It sucked me in and even had me questioning my own reality at one point. If you read it in one or two sittings (which I did not) I think it could really make you feel surreal. I dragged it out because I love Susanna Clarke’s writing so much and there is so little of it to enjoy for the first time. No footnotes which made me a little sad (lol); but a superb piece of surreal magical(?) realism literature.

It has been a couple months now since reading Piranesi and I keep trying to find a way to express my love for it more appropriately than the summary paragraph above. Yet, I seem to come up short every time. The thing is that Piranesi is a unique story. Unlike any other I've read to date. And so it is not only very well written and framed but also absolutely engrossing. There are pieces of it that come back to me still weeks and weeks (and many books) later. I mean who doesn't want to be the caretaker of precious artifacts or bones; who doesn't want to have the ability to find 'holes' in the fabric of reality and find another land. In fact Piranesi is almost like the Narnia for adults. We are led into a quite, relatively safe space, just as a wardrobe once put us next to a light post with snow beneath our feet. Instead we are taken to a land of stone and carvings; with lots of water, that has its own magical properties.

Overall Piranesi is brilliant. I just can't find a way to say that strong enough. So you'll just have to read it and find out for yourself if you agree. Luckily its a short page count and so not a huge investment in time; although be prepared as you may sit down to read it and not want to stop until you reach the final pages.

While I received an excerpt (sampler) from the publisher in advance to publication; I also made sure to purchase a first edition hardcover because I loved Clarke's first book so much and had an incline that Piranesi would be as loved as Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell was for me. So this is my disclaimer, but not a disclaimer write-up as technically I did purchase a copy for my own consumption. I cannot wait to re-read Piranesi in the future and see what new secrets it might unlock for me.

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