Piranesi was a Christmas gift from Rebecca, and being picked for Fantasy Book Club means I’m actually ‘allowed’ to read it, even though this blog still has more fantasy reviews than any other single genre. I went into it knowing nothing, except that I’d liked what I’d read of Susanna Clarke’s last book, but hadn’t even come close to finishing it. Piranesi is much shorter, but both novels have been written in a metafictional way which foregrounds the process of writing.
Like Beatrice Belladonna Eastwood (The Once and Future Witches), Piranesi is another character who values notebooks and journal-keeping. His journals even have a separate notebook which serves as an index, which will surely excite any bullet journal fans reading! Writing advice often insists that every character needs a goal, but for most of the novel, it’s hard to tell what, exactly, Piranesi is looking for. Despite this, and the fact that he spends much of the book alone, Susanna Clarke keeps his story interesting.
Perhaps even people you like and admire immensely can make you see the World in ways you wold rather not.Piranesi, Susanna Clarke
Piranesi’s thought-process is refreshingly different. Like The Napoleon of Notting Hill, Susanna Clarke includes thought-provoking insights which invite the reader to think about how they see their own world. The capitalising of some nouns could be a tad distracting, but the prose is otherwise nicely transparent. Though the mystery of the world inclines the reader to question character’s motives, Piranesi has a much more relaxed atmosphere than The Loneliest Girl in the Universe.
There should be plenty to talk about in book club, though it remains to be seen whether Piranesi will raise as many questions as The Bone Shard Daughter. Either way, it should be interesting!