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 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 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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