Book Review: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Several months ago, my once-local library started a Fantasy / Science Fiction book club. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke was the fantasy book chosen for December 2022.

I don’t have the book anymore, as the book club books are checked out and returned to the library after the book is discussed, so I don’t have the ability to copy the back of the book blurb like I normally do.

This book took me a little bit longer than some books for me to get into the flow caused by several different things.

The first of which centers around the main character/narrator’s method of journal headings. As the book is designed entirely by journal entries, having odd headings definitely changes the perspective. The headings were very long and referenced a time flow unfamiliar to the reader. These headings are explained at a later time but they are very lengthy, wordy, and I definitely stopped reading them after the second one when I realized the headers were just going to stay like that.

Another difficulty I had with the flow of the story was the concept of the layout for the House. Several members of the book club mentioned wanting to attempt to draw maps of the House to help them understand the the setting better. I think most of them gave up, as the references for a map didn’t make as much sense to the reader as they did to the narrator.

I think the hardest part about getting into the story was that most of the narrator’s references made zero sense to me at first but things definitely became clearer as the book progressed. But because of these narrator differences, this honestly became a book my brain sometimes goes back to chew on the ideas for every now and then.

Overall, I’m glad I read it but I’m more glad I read it as a library book. While some ideas are fascinating and this book makes for wonderful discussion material, I think knowing what’s going on might actually spoil any future readings for me. I think I would rate it a two on my rating scale, which means I would read it again if I didn’t pay for it and if it was something someone else wanted to read and discuss.

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About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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