endless halls and rising tides | piranesi by susanna clarke

by - 9:16 PM

"May your Paths be safe, your Floors be unbroken, and may the House fill your eyes with Beauty."

     isbn: 9781635575437 | pages: 245
     publication date: September 15, 2020 | source: library
     genre: adult, magical realism
     rating: 7/10 

    A M A Z O N    |    G O O D R E A D S    |    B O O K S H O P * 
    B O O K D E P O S I T O R Y    |    B A R N E S A N D N O B L E S

a story of journal entries
If I was well-versed and eloquent enough, I might be able to compile my thoughts for Piranesi into a structured essay, but unfortunately my writing abilities have failed me. Instead, let me attempt to summarize why this book completely captured my attention from start to finish. Piranesi is a story that is hard to describe - it follows a narrator as he lives in this massive house with never ending halls and vestibules. He answers to the name Piranesi as that's what the other house resident The Other calls him but he knows that's not his real name. Despite living his days content in collecting seaweed, keeping a record of what he sees around the house, it is his meetings with The Other that introduce the conflict of the story. 

It takes a while to get into the story because of the strange narration style. Everything is told through a series of journal entries that he keeps which include all the little details of his life. In a different format or even from a different narrator, the entries would read incredibly boring and mundane, but because it's told through Piranesi's voice, it seems simply fascinating. Something about the syntax and word choices that he makes takes the most simple aspects of life like the changing of tides, the daily happenings of birds, and walking through endless halls, and makes it so interesting to read. It made me want to take a step back from the business of life and just appreciate all the little details of the world.

exploring intrigue 
This book walks the fine balance of being short in length but feeling like it lasts forever. At times I felt like I've been reading hundreds of pages only to find that I've completed 3 journal entries, but it just works for this story. As Piranesi starts to uncover the origins of the House, the Other, and himself, we get to delve into philosophical and moral conversations about the human understanding of world and society. I honestly could not have guessed where Susanna Clarke was going to take the plot and it truly felt like we were discovering each piece of the puzzle with Piranesi which made the reading experience all the more intriguing. 

Piranesi is a story that reads like a timeless reflection of the desire and fascination with the confines of the human mind as well as the effects of scholarly ambition and greed. Each of the characters introduced give readers a glimpse into a grey spectrum of morality as you try to piece together the origins of the house and Piranesi's presence. This is a story that despite its short length, elevates the simplest aspects of life and makes it just a bit more wonderful.

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  1. Great review Riv! I've been eyeing this one for a while now but I'm saving it from January so I can start the year right :D

    1. Thank you! It's definitely super magical so hoping it will become a great start for you in 2022!