The House in which Piranesi resides consists of innumerable halls whose walls are lined with thousands of statues. The tides sweep through these halls in a pattern only Piranesi can decipher. While he has forgotten many things, he knows this: the Beauty of the House is immeasurable, it’s Kindness infinite.
It’s not often that a Fantasy book wins a major literary prize such as the Women’s Prize for Fiction, but I am really glad that this was the case for Piranesi. It is a beautiful but unconventional novel which leaves you wondering for a long while what it is exactly that you are reading.
The book’s main strength is definitely the unique narrative voice of Piranesi himself. I was immediately charmed by him, and although I felt quite sorry for him in the beginning I soon started wondering whether this feeling was entirely warranted. I really love the way he is able to fit into and take care of the House. His descriptions of it make the House seem like more than just a backdrop for the story, but like a serene presence in its own right.
I enjoyed the mysterious atmosphere of the book so much that I felt almost reluctant to read on as the plot progressed and some of the riddles were solved. However, the ending was well worth it as it left me feeling bittersweet but hopeful, and very glad to have picked up this rather extraordinary book.
I really enjoyed this book. Robin recommended it to me after she reviewed it.
Piranesi is very hard to compare to other books. It’s deeply atmospheric and unpredictable. The first 100 pages or so, you’re just trying to get a sense of what’s going on. Normally this would bother me, because I don’t like to be confused. However, Susanna Clarke’s writing is so compelling that it didn’t bother me at all. It’s also not a super long book, and the pacing is just right.
It’s definitely not fantasy in the traditional sense of the genre, but it’s definitely worth reading!