Trang’s here with a book review! A long awaited book by Susanna Clarke, after her triumphant novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell, people have been waiting patiently for her new novel to come out and in due time, she delivered her work brilliantly. It’s officially becoming one of my favourite books of 2020.
Contrasting the length of her previous work, she went for a drastic change with Piranesi. Surprising us with short and an almost innocent writing style, no heavy nor long and extensive volume but with a subtlety and a delicacy in a simpler prose.
The story begins with our protagonist’s journals entries describing the enormous halls and rooms of the House. As we journey along, there’s a mystery around The House that is quite unsettling. In a way, the protagonist’s perception of the House, which we know so biased ,but we have no other ways but to follow him. From his entries, we know that he has been taken care of The Dead, a mysterious groups of entities where he would worship. Piranesi and another man that he calls The Other, seems to be the only survivors in the House.
The reveal has been done masterfully and beautifully, the author leaves enough clues all over the texts to hint us where it’s going. I have to admit that I lacked the knowledge in Roman architecture, something that would’ve helped a lot it picking up the clues. The central theme which I find very interesting is the brain survival mode when faced to loneliness. It can come up with the most magical ideas, games and whatnot for us to not get bored.
Thus book might be shorter than Jonathan Strange & Mr Norel, her previous work, but it comes with the same complexity and hid many layers underneath with the same gothic minutia and nuance. I would recommend this book 100% for its strangeness but for what it does to one’s mind, how it forces us to reflect upon our own selves.
RATING : 5/5
Big thank you to Bloomsbury for an advanced copy to review!