By: Susanna Clarke

The House always provides for her children. Piranesi lives to study and admire the House with its infinite rooms and countless unique statues. He knows that he alone appreciates every facet of the labyrinth of halls remembering every detail of his World. 

In all of existence, there are two people: Piranesi and The Other. The Other meets with Piranesi twice a week to collect data about the Great and Secret Knowledge in the hopes of rediscovering what was lost to time. The Other is also Piranesi’s only friend and ally, that is, until clues begin to emerge that there could be another person in the House. As the truth begins to unravel, the peaceful life Piranesi built for himself is destroyed, and he can never look back. 

Piranesi has roots firmly planted in the origin of fantasy. Fantasy was created to parody and reflect the morality and issues of modern life through the lens of an alternate reality. If you need an example, look to J.R.R Tolkien with The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings that has elements of how he viewed our world after seeing combat in WWI. Sure, the fantasy genre is a form of escapism, but that’s not all it’s meant to accomplish. Meaning is often hidden, and it’s up to the reader to find it. 

If alternate realities indeed exist, I can imagine a universe where the House is possible, a place of surreal beauty, emptiness, and destruction. The House takes everything from its inhabitants before giving them something better in return. To receive such blessings, one must simply stay and listen. 

I enjoyed Piranesi because it’s strange, well-paced, and kept my interest from start to finish. This book isn’t one full of action or battles. This story is one about finding one’s self and figuring out what makes us who we are. 

Overall rating: 4.5

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