Piranesi by Susanna Clarke – Book Review

I’ve been meaning to write a book review for Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, but I’m not getting round to it! So, here are some quick thoughts.

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke


Piranesi lives in the House, an eerily beautiful place ruled by the Tides and filled with marble statues. His only companions are the birds who nest in the various rooms and halls. And the Other, a sharply dressed man who Piranesi assists with research projects. Piranesi lives a simple and gentle life of research, exploration, and fishing until the presence of another person, who he calls 16, is detected…

‘I realised that the search for the Knowledge has encouraged us to think of the House as if it were a sort of riddle to be unravelled, a text to be interpreted, and that if ever we discover the Knowledge, then it will be as if the Value has been wrested from the House and all that remains will be mere scenery.’

Susanne Clarke – Piranesi


I wasn’t immediately hooked on the story. Clarke creates a strange world and you have to orientate yourself in this labyrinth, but keep reading! Soon I was so intrigued by Piranesi, the House, and its mysteries that I didn’t want to stop reading. It’s been one of the most imaginative and creative books I’ve read this year. There are so many layers and philosophical questions vibrating throughout the text. This one’s for readers who like magic realism, mystery, philosophy, and something a little different…

Did you know that Giovanni Battista Piranesi was an 18th century engraver and print maker? His work is intricate and beautiful, the work of an artist! His mentor apparently told him: “You are too much of a painter, my friend, to be an engraver.” The Collector shares 12 interesting facts about Piranesi:

“Piranesi’s other major series is called Carceri d’invenzione (Imaginary Prisons)… These depict sweeping, underground chambers. They show massive staircases and towering machinery… fanciful, dramatic, distorted labyrinth like structures. These could be considered influences for later movements, Romanticism and Surrealism.”

These imaginary prisons are not only interesting to look at, but can also add a layer of understanding and awe to your reading of Clarke’s Piranesi. Enjoy!

P.S. How beautiful is the hardcover design!

Source: The Collector: https://www.thecollector.com/giovanni-battista-piranesi/

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Thanks for visiting the Wild Library blog. For more book recommendations, have a look at my Wild Reading List. Or follow me on Instagram for more books, plants, and stories.

Happy reading,

Chantelle

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