Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
Reviewed by GGGinny
What I drank: Hard Seltzer. I’ve fallen on a trend and after going on a pretty intense hike today, I wanted something self indulengt. Which explains why I binged a series called Centaurland on Netflix that was a delight even though it was clearly intended for children
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.
Drunk Overview: Our main character is in an endless library where he has kept track of the patterns of the tides (because it’s also an ocean) and the sole other living inhabitant, named “the Other.”
Drunk Thoughts: Man, this book is everything I wanted from “The Starless Sea.” The mystery of this book is delightful and the descriptions of the library were incredibly lush and so well detailed that I have a picture in my head of what it looks like.
- The foreshadowing in this book is delightful. There are tiny hints that are dropped throughout, and the way everything builds was wonderful.
- For all the world seemed to be a library, books were a stunningly small part of the actual world, which isn’t a complaint, but is still well worth noticing.
- Our main character (who doesn’t quite have a name by his own reckoning) has such an interesting inner monologue.
- One of the things I’ve tried to figure out is a nature/nurture question of how much of his personality was his own vs what the library required of him.
- Talking about the main secondary character, the Other is such an interesting foil.
- Our main character is so much a part of his world while the Other is so self-focused. It makes sense in the book, but the way his story and our MC’s story intertwine was great.
- The world feels fleshed out, which can really be due to the formatting of the book, mainly MC’s thought process, but even the way that character has kept track of the different rooms, and how he thinks about the different statues.
- It feels weird to say this, but the book feels almost religious at times. I’m not talking about any religion in particular, but the way MC interacts with his world is very natural, and his thinking does tend towards religion.
- Man, it’s hard to talk about this book without any spoilers as well. Not surprising considering it has some mystery elements
- But the point where we start covering the past was delightfully fragmented which means I had fun trying to put the puzzle together before the MC.
- I especially wonder at the ending.
- Honestly, my biggest complaint about this book is that I could use another book in the series. although at the same time, this book is so well put together that I feel like more books would ruin it.
What I’d Pair it With: White wine, ideally something that would go with fish. Possibly a grassy sauvignon blanc.