Book Review

PIRANESI by Susanna Clarke

Rating: 4 / 5

PIRANESI was a Book of the Month pick for me several months back, but it sat on my shelf without being picked up. It showed up on a list of suggested reads for a Popsugar Reading Challenge prompt which provided the perfect opportunity to add it to my TBR!

PIRANESI is narrated by a man who really doesn’t remember his own origin story, but he is called Piranesi by the one other person he sees in his daily life so he accepts it even though he’s pretty sure that isn’t actually his name. He lives in a house with an unlimited number of rooms and corridors. It is a building that is is terrible disrepair, peopled only by himself, the man he calls “The Other” and the bones of a few more people long dead.

Piranesi’s days are spent exploring this labyrinth, charting the birds and the ocean waters which exist within the house. His mission is to further his knowledge of the world and chronicle it all in pursuit of what The Other calls the Great and Secret Knowledge. As he explores more, he begins to realize that things have happened in the past of which he has no actual memory and his natural curiosity leads him to further exploration.

For the first at least quarter of the book, I really wasn’t sure if I was enjoying it at all, but I am very glad that I decided to give it more time. By the time I was further in, I really was hooked to know what the heck was going on! This is one where you have to let the book take you and trust that things that seem very bizarre and impossible will start to make sense. You also kind of have to be willing to accept that not everything will actually make entire sense in the end.

I’ve seen it compared to THE STARLESS SEA by Erin Morgenstern which I can kind of see in the way it is written in a very non-linear sort of way, but this one didn’t quite have the same lyrical writing that I loved so much in Morgenstern’s books. I did wind up enjoying it but it is not a book I would recommend to everyone. If you like your reading to be a bit weird and unique, then this one might be for you!

Reading Challenge Categories:

#PopsugarReadingChallenge – a book about forgetting

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