Piranesi by Susanna Clarke , #101 review

Publication date : 15 September 2020

Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.

There is one other person in the house—a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.

For readers of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane and fans of Madeline Miller’s Circe, Piranesi introduces an astonishing new world, an infinite labyrinth, full of startling images and surreal beauty, haunted by the tides and the clouds.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, an intoxicating, hypnotic new novel set in a dreamlike alternative reality.

It is safe to say that “Piranesi” is a book that is not for everyone, it targets a specific type of reader. In this cleverly written slice of a book, Susanna Clarke introduces readers to a hidden maze of metaphors and parallels and philosophy.

“Piranesi” is for the Narnians. It starts with an epigraph from “Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew”, which is usually how you’ll know a book carries a Narnian feel. The story begins in a huge hall lined with minotaur statues that instantly reminded me of Charn’s Hall of Images(Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew). Page by page, the Narnian easter eggs are added to the basket—fauns, doors between worlds, mystical creatures, a slimy fellow named Ketterley (in reference to Andrew Ketterley, the magician from “Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew” ).

“The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite. May your Paths be safe, your Floors unbroken and may the House fill your eyes with Beauty.”

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

“Piranesi” reminds me very much of “Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew” , it is as though Susanna Clarke wrote the book as an auxiliary work or prequel or origin story in reference to much bigger mythological worlds. One might even think that “Piranesi” is a book that was written in a fantasy world for THAT fantasy world.

It is written in a journal format with its own special catalogue and index. This writing style will not appeal to all readers henceforth why “Piranesi” is for certain types of readers. I can tell you that this labyrinth of myths and folklore will be sure to delight fans of Narnia and Middle-Earth. The book cover screams it.

Piranesi Moodboard by me

I already missed the House and It’s Statues of Knowledge, the Sound of Waves and Endless Hallways. This is a read I will read soon. I love books that connect to Narnia. It has an irreplaceable feeling of warmth, of home, in my heart. I highly recommend you listen to Sarah Spark’s album – Into the Lantern Waste while you read the book. It is a collection of Narnia inspired folk songs. They paint such vivid images in my head. I can’t get enough.

By elysianbooksish

The Bookish Faerie who loves to read and write, and bake too

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