“The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite.”
If you’re like me, you’ve been waiting for this book for 16 years! Susanna Clarke’s first novel, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, is a delicate masterpiece of storytelling magic, and is a book I revisit every year so my bar was set high for her latest work.
It. did. not. disappoint!
While this story is a stark departure from her first novel, it is nonetheless Ms. Clarke in her storytelling element. Unlike Jonathan Strange, Piranesi is an incredibly short read, but it manages to fit huge questions of memory, identity, and knowledge all within its pages.
This story follows a man named Piranesi, though this is not his true name but one “The Other” bestowed on him, as he welcomes the reader into the House. His house is not a typical home, but a never-ending labyrinth filled with thousands of unique statues and an ocean with its own tides and rules. Piranesi cannot remember how long he has been in the House or how he came to be here, but he possesses a deep knowledge of the intricacies of this place, which he shares with “The Other.” The only other person in this world, “The Other” is a scientist searching for a great and powerful knowledge he believes is hidden within the labyrinth. It is this quest that sends Piranesi and the reader down a winding rabbit hole to discover the truths of this world and our own.