Piranesi by Susanna Clarke Offers A Different Reading Experience

To Read Or Not To Read

Is an award a guarantee that a book is a great read? An award such as the Nobel Prize or Booker Prize that's given to a novel leaves an impression that the story is exceptional, and this seal of recognition can affect the decision of the readers whether to read it or not. With Piranesi, I decided to give it a read.

I Was Meant To Do This 

I first learned about Piranesi when a book reviewer shared a photo of it on Instagram in September 2021. This fantasy novel is written by the English author, Susanna Clarke, and it won the 2021 Women's Prize for Fiction and 2020 Audie Award as Audiobook of the Year. Several bookstagrammers gushed about it and a famous booktuber gave it a 5/5. Having the need to know more, I checked Amazon Kindle and my eyes widened. It was on sale, a sign that I was meant to read it! Without thinking twice, I grabbed my own copy.  

But It Won An Award!?

My excitement to read Piranesi was suspended for almost a year because of my long To-Be-Read list. Finally, in August 2022, it’s Piranesi’s turn to be in the currently reading spot. I started reading it with great eagerness but after reading the first two chapters,  the excitement dwindled. I was floating in confusion as the author described the house, its halls, statues, vestibules, and other things that were unfamiliar to me. I had to go to Google to check what the parts of the house looked like in the real world for I couldn’t fully imagine them. Rubbing my forehead, I put aside my e-book and tried to grasp what I was reading.  Was it a mistake to spend my time on this book? But it won an award and received great reviews! In hopes that  it would get better in the pages ahead, I continued reading. 

Hooked In The Middle

Towards the middle of the story, the atmosphere changed from being outlandish to being mysterious.  The exposure of one of the main character's duplicitous face piqued my interest to go on; this moment was my most favorite part of the book as it let out a sense of curiosity in me. Down the line, secrets were unraveled, motives were revealed, and crimes were uncovered. The revelations and events in the end satisfied my curiosity that made me appreciate Piranesi's story even more. 

Was It Worth It?

Was Piranesi worth it? It was and I’m glad I didn’t give up on it early on. Despite the complexities of the setting that threw me off balance, making me struggle to see the world through my eyes, I appreciated the story more in the end.  Also, my mind was stretched by imagining the author’s descriptions of places and events. It’s a great practice to strengthen my imagination muscle. 

I now understand why Piranesi won awards. It’s story is so different from the books I read before.  Sometimes you just have to give a chance to a book that is out of your comfort zone without knowing what to expect but ended up enjoying it.  Piranesi  captivated me this way.

Have you read Piranesi? What do you think about this book?


“The enormity of this task sometimes makes me feel a little dizzy, but as a scientist and an explorer I have a duty to bear witness to the Splendours of the World.”
— Piranesi

“Writing inculcates habits of precision and carefulness.”
— Piranesi 

“I became angry at Myself, disgusted at my own timidity. This was no way to think!”
— Piranesi

“Do the Statues exist because they embody the Ideas and Knowledge that flowed out of the other World into this one?”
— Piranesi

“It is my belief that the World (or, if you will, the House, since the two are for all practical purposes identical) wishes an Inhabitant for Itself to be a witness to its Beauty and the recipient of its Mercies.”
— Piranesi

Book Information:

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
Published on September 15,2022, by Bloomsbury Publishing
246 pages (eBook)

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