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Piranesi

by Susanna Clarke

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke X
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
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  • Published:
    Sep 2020, 272 pages

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There are currently 30 member reviews
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  • Diane T. (Slingerlands, NY)
    Out of my comfort zone
    I am old enough to remember "The Twilight Zone". As soon as I saw Rod Seeking, I'd change the channel. He made me feel anxious! Although I loved "The Big Bang Theory", I could never figure out the fascination the guys had about " to go where no man has gone." It was way beyond their chosen field of expertise. Suffice it to say, I'm not a Trekie, nor a fan of Star Wars. No sci-fi for me.
    That being said I have just finished reading "Piranesi" by Susanna Clarke for the third time and will buy the book - I received the ebook to review - to have in my library! Yes, that is how much I loved it. Why? Because it is magical and otherworldly. It makes you think about life and it's cycle. The author has written what could have been a rather frightful book into one that is beautifully lyrical, poignant and believable. It reminds us what has come before us in history and gives us an opportunity to experience the good, the bad and the ugly in a way that calls upon our senses. Art reminds us of what was and so it is in this book.
    Our main character is Piranesi, though this is not his real name. In history, Piranesi is an Italian artist famous for his etchings of Time and of fictitious and atmospheric "prisons". The House , where the story mainly takes place, is atmospheric, haunting, yet calming to the soul. There are twists and turns, literally and figuratively that unfolds this mystery.
    To say that I was initially thrilled to be told that the books that I had requested to reviewed were oversubscribed and that I could request"Piranesi". I am so glad that I stepped out of my box and read this book. In these most anxious times, my blood pressure was lowered not only once but three times before writing this. Will I read the book again? Everytime I feel fraught with everything, I will escape to The House and it's serenity.
  • Mark S. (Blauvelt, NY)
    Strangely Exciting and Thought Provoking
    It took a little while to get going, but I was immediately captivated by the author's prose and the images it created. The ending felt mildly anticlimactic, but the way in which Clarke develops the mystery of who and where Piranesi is made it impossible to put down. I would strongly recommend Piranesi to any fantasy buffs and book clubs who enjoy exploring alternative reality stories.
  • Robbie Lee Naples, FL
    Piranesi
    It's a wonderful house — huge soaring rooms connected by hallways and staircases extending to infinity. And filled with beautiful statues. The House is usually benevolent providing food, water, conversation, and comfort. The only perceptible evil — killer tides that, fortunately, can be predicted and avoided.This magnificent house comprises the entire world with a total of 15 inhabitants, 13 of them skeletons. Piranesi with his journals and The Other are the two protagonists of this magical, alter world.

    Susanna Clarke allows the reader to discover Piranesi's slow understanding of himself through twists and turns in this fantastical novel. Her storytelling ability wholly immerses us in mystery and adventure making us question which world is real — a journey worth traveling.
  • Catherine O. (Altavista, VA)
    Escape
    When reading is your favorite hobby and you read over a hundred books a year it is difficult to find such a unique novel as Piranesi. As you lose yourself in this elaborate, beautifully described world that Piranesi inhabits you question everything. The author reveals characters and information in a gentle way that eases you toward a satisfying ending. This is a novel I will be recommending to my book club, it gave me several hours of true enjoyment and provided escape from my worries as I wondered if Piranesi would ever escape from his world.
  • Lorraine D. (Lacey, WA)
    An Emotional, Suspenseful Journey Back to Reality
    Curious about the name, Piranesi, I looked it up and discovered an Italian artist, Giovanni Barista Piranesi (1720-1778) whose etching were said to depict "cavernous imaginary prisons" (The Free Dictionary - Piranesi). This definition so well defined the houses that Susanna Clarke's character, Piranesi, occupies in this captivating novel. Her mastery of descriptive language brings true emotion into the consoling relationship between Piranesi and the statues. It somewhat reminded me of the relationship between Tom Hanks and the basketball in the movie, Cast Away. Within the first few chapters one can well visualize the expansiveness of the chambers of this massive labyrinth, and could be pained by the Other's control over Piranesi. Each chapter thereafter was an enlightenment regarding the ingenuity, persistence and emotional impact derived from deprivation and the struggle for survival. Piranesi is a page-turner that unwinds with a crescendo as powerful as the flood tides depicted in the book. Susanna Clarke has produced an extraordinary experience and I thank her for an enthralling read.
  • Roberta R. (West Bloomfield, MI)
    Piranesi
    I loved the book, I couldn't put it down. The author's prose was beautiful, you could visualize yourself as being right with the protagonist in the caves, particularly in the first one third of the book. The pace was quick. The only criticism I might have is that the ending was a bit of a "letdown" from the rest of the book.

    I would consider that the book would be a good read for a variety of readers; book clubs, adults and young adults. I don't read a lot of magical fantasy books, so I think that even non-fantasy readers would enjoy.
  • Karen B. (Crestwood, KY)
    Haunting & Inventive Mystery/Fantasy
    Clarke combines elements of fantasy and mystery in a wholly original and thoroughly intriguing tale. Through the limited point of view of the journal entries of the narrator, mockingly named Piranesi by the "Other," the reader is drawn into a labyrinthine world inhabited by statues and skeletons, and ruled by the tides. The reader senses there is a larger story in play that is slowly and satisfyingly revealed. Ambiguous and atmospheric, I'd recommend this book for readers seeking portals into other worlds, who don't mind being somewhat disoriented upon first entering.

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