Piranesi: A Tribute to the Book
Piranesi was such a unique, fun book to read that I’d be remiss if I didn’t write my review in a style different to my usual. So…here goes!
PIRANESI'S JOURNAL ENTRIES
I find a beautiful book
ENTRY FOR THE 1ST DAY OF THE FIRST MONTH IN THE YEAR I FOUND THE BOOK
I found a Book today. It is Beautiful; with a black and gold cover. On the inside, it is not like my Journals. This is already written in and the writing is not my own. It looks Mechanical, somehow, which is strange. If a Writing Device existed in the World, I would know. I do not have much to Do for a few days, so I am going to read the book. The Other, the only other living person in this World, will not come to meet me for about 10 Days. He told me so the last time we met.
The Book tells me a strange Story
ENTRY FOR THE 2ND DAY OF THE FIRST MONTH IN THE YEAR I FOUND THE BOOK
I am reading the Book and it seems to be a Reflection of my Thoughts. The journals mentioned in the book, the information about the World, the conversations with the Other, they all seem so familiar. As if I have written them, but I have no memory of writing those Words. I am still reading, though. The Book could be the House’s way of telling me the Great and Secret Knowledge that the Other has been Seeking for so long. But it is making me uncomfortable.
I Learn some shocking Truths
ENTRY FOR THE 6TH DAY OF THE FIRST MONTH IN THE YEAR I FOUND THE BOOK
I am halfway through the book now. Until now, things seemed quite normal – like what I usually write…but now things are getting truly odd. Yet, I cannot seem to put the book down. It is like watching a storm; knowing it is coming at me, but there is nothing I can do about it.
I Wonder if it is all True
ENTRY FOR THE 7TH DAY OF THE FIRST MONTH IN THE YEAR I FOUND THE BOOK
I just turned the Last Page of the Book. I do not know what to think. If what is Written here is true, the Book might be a foreshadowing of what to come. The House might be Warning me that there is danger ahead; to Tread Carefully. But what if it is all a lie? A test, as it were? Maybe the House is testing me; testing my Loyalty to it.
I will just forget about it and see what happens. After all, I must have Faith in the House.
The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite.
I’m not sure if you understood this or not, but I’d be okay even if you understood little, as long as my little write-up intrigued you enough to pick up the book or add it to your TBR.
It was a delightful, if totally puzzling read, and if you’re embarking on this surprisingly short journey (the book is only about 200 pages long), I’ll tell you what numerous reviewers before me said: go in blind. Not knowing what the f is going on is part of the fun of reading this book.
I also suggest forcing a bookish friend or two to read it with you: buddy reading Piranesi with my awesome ladies Anupma (@mostlybooking) and Shweta (@whatsshwereading) made the journey much more fun than it would have otherwise been.
About the Author:
Susanna Clarke was born in 1959 in Nottingham, England. She was the eldest daughter of a Methodist minister and his wife. She spent her childhood in various towns across Northern England and Scotland, and enjoyed reading authors like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens and Jane Austen.
She studied philosophy, politics and economics at St Hilda’s College, Oxford and received her degree in 1981. After that, she worked for eight years in publishing at Quarto and Gordon Fraser, and then spent two years teaching English in Italy and Spain. In 1992, she returned to England and began working on her first novel, the huge Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. More than 10 years later, in 2004, the book finally got published. In 1993, she also started working at Simon & Schuster to edit cookbooks, and worked there for ten years.
If you’re wondering why it took so long for her to get to her second book (Piranesi was published only in 2020), well, she became ill with chronic fatigue syndrome just months after the first book was published. Writing became torturous for her, then. She plans to write a sequel for Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, but it’s a long way off, she says.