Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi Review

Piranesi is an interesting book. I would almost venture to say a one-of-a-kind book, but who knows? We are dropped in the world of Piranesi. Piranesi is a man that lives in a world that he calls “The House”. It is a vast, seemingly never-ending building of hallways and vestibules. Within these halls are a multitude of statues depicting different figures or things on them and as Piranesi has walked through the halls he has picked out his favorite ones.

Within The House, there also lives another person. Piranesi calls him “The Other” and meets with him twice a week to discuss a plan to find a secret knowledge that is hidden somewhere within The House. All goes to plan until Piranesi believes there to be a third person among them somewhere in the halls of the vast House. After that, his world is turned upside down.

Touchstones

The Plot: I thought the plot of Piranesi was very smooth for the most part. I will say that around the 50 page mark I was wondering where in the hell the story was going, but not too long after that some things happen that really peaked my interest and it never really let up from there. I think the setting and the world are AMAZING, but it had me wanting a different type of ending. I’m not disappointed by the ending or saying that it was bad, but the ending was more grounded than I anticipated.

The Pacing: Like I said above, the only part that was a little slow for me was the first 50 pages, but I think that is kind of needed to get used to the way the story is told. It’s told through journal entries that Piranesi writes down and explains what all he did each day. It’s fun to piece together the story as he does this.

Overall Score: 9/10

Weird fantastical books like this are some of my favorite. I love the way it is written in journal entries and the way that Clarke conveys the world such as having Piranesi number each hallway and which direction it goes. When Piranesi is talking about some 190th hall you really get a glimpse at how big this house is.

The only thing keeping this from a 10/10 is the ending. I liked the ending don’t get me wrong, but with the setting of the book and how fantastical the world seemed to me I was expecting some kind of ending that was really bizarre or fantastical in itself. I do like the ending though. It’s a good, solid ending.

This definitely has me interesting in looking out for more of Clarke’s books. I know Oryx & Crake (I think that’s what it’s called)* is super big so that has me a little intimidated, but I’ve heard it’s supposed to be good. I may have to pick it up at some point!

Thanks for reading!

*Edit – Nope, that’s Margaret Atwood lol. Her other book is Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

Published by Jacob Fite

My name is Jacob, I'm 30 years old and currently serving in the USAF. Born in Sheridan, Arkansas, USA. I love writing poetry and stories. My first completed story, The Drip can be found here on my blog.

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