Piranesi by Susanna Clarke.
Review by Denise Picton
If you’re seeking a commercial novel that’s so light and entertaining that you can scan it while also gathering points in City Island 5 on your iPad, this book is not for you.
But if you want to peer over Piranesi’s shoulder as he makes his careful daily record of the wonders of the labyrinth in which he lives alone with thousands of statues in hundreds of halls, tides that rise to cover floors and staircases, and clouds that move slowly across the upper levels, you must join him in the House.
This book is a poem, a meditation and a page-turner. David Mitchell hails Piranesi on its beautiful black and copper cover as an exquisite puzzle-box.
Only a writer who is weird and wondrously wonky could create this work; characteristics I have always admired in a person.
Piranesi’s splendid isolation is only punctuated by visits on Tuesdays and Thursdays from the Other, who brings him shoes and sometimes supplements his rags. He is Piranesi’s great mentor and friend until messages begin to appear in chalk on pavements that suggest there may be a third person in the miles and miles of empty rooms. The Other’s warnings about the mysterious person ‘16’ cause Piranesi to question the nature of his only relationship.