Book Review: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Book Review: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, Magical Realism

Pages: 246 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 15th September 2020 by Bloomsbury

A genre-blending, memorable, and melancholic standalone novel.

This will be a short review. Writing the review for Piranesi by Susanna Clarke is not an easy task. It has taken me five days to write this review, and you might notice that it’s a relatively short review. There are two reasons for this. First, this is a short novel; I’m sure you can finish reading this book within 3-4 hours. Second, it’s due to spoiler reasons; before I started reading Piranesi, I received plenty of advice saying that it’s better to read this book without knowing anything about it. Don’t check any reviews, just dive into it, and I have to agree with this advice. So I’ll keep this review as brief, effective, and spoiler-free as I can.

“Perhaps even people you like and admire immensely can make you see the World in ways you would rather not.”

If you want to know what the story is about, the official blurb did a great job of telling the premise without spoiling anything. And yes, the book is indeed as bizarre as the premise sounds. But this is what made Piranesi difficult for me to review, and it’s also one of the main charms of the book. A huge part of my enjoyment and admiration with Piranesi is attained through every step of navigating the World with Piranesi. The sense of discovery is key, and it must not be tainted. Readers are plunged into Piranesi’s house with infinite rooms, endless corridors, and I won’t lie, the first quarter can be a challenge to read. I had zero ideas what’s going on in the first 50 pages, and in a different situation or reading mood, there’s a good chance I would’ve put it on the DNF pile. But based on what I’ve heard from other readers doing the read-along with me, this is normal and to be expected. Discovering all the mystery together with Piranesi was a delight, and Clarke’s prose—despite the confusing parts, for me—was engaging throughout the whole book.

“The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite.”

I loved Piranesi. The first quarter was hard to get into, but everything after that was wave after wave of revelations and thrill. For such a short book, Piranesi packed a lot of food for thoughts. It’s different from many books I usually read, and it’s a novel that will stick with me. Piranesi has won and been nominated for many awards, and it’s well-deserved. That’s all I can say in this review. Believe me, if you’re interested in this book already, skip reading any review—mine included—and just read the book. Explore everything with Piranesi. Learn about kindness and innocence again together with him.

You can order the book from: Blackwells (Free International shipping)

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5 thoughts on “Book Review: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

  1. I had seen a lot of people recommending this one so I recently read it as well. The book surprised me and I was very happy I had avoided all spoilers. And that I took the time to read it.

    1. Yeah! I do think this one is best approached without knowing anything about it. That’s what i did, too, and I’m so glad! 🙂

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