Review: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Piranesi: Clarke, Susanna: 9781635575637: Books


I admit that I went into this book with some hesitation. The author’s previous book, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, was a clear DNF for me, but I’ve been told this one is different and I might like it (after all, I like weirdness and strange houses), so I reluctantly gave it a try. And I was instantly hooked.

I’m not going to say much of the plot. It’s best if you go in knowing as little as possible. There is a man, and a house with many rooms and many statues that occasionally gets flooded by the Tides. I was, initially, bothered by the writing style because it seemed like every second word is Capitalised (and the annoyance never fully went away), but the setting was an instant draw for me. The surrealism of a building with the sea on the inside, getting to explore its mysteries…exquisite.

Unfortunately, the mysteries got explored a little too far for my taste. By the end, the veil was peeled back completely to the point any initial magic was lost. Given that I was attracted to the setting precisely because of how strange and wondrous it was, I felt it was a huge shame.

Enjoyment: 4/5
Execution: 4.5/5

Recommended to: fellow fans of weird houses
Not recommended to: those easily annoyed by capitalised words, those who don’t like it when all the mysteries are revealed

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