Book Review – Piranesi

Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. Today I’m sharing my review of one of the books that I was absolutely determined to squeeze into 2021, and finished on Boxing Day. I actually read it in 48 hours as I loved it so much, and found myself already trying to work out how to word my review in between reading sessions!

Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.

There is one other person in the house—a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.

Filled with as many twists and turns as The House, Piranesi is a book that keeps you guessing. Just as you think you’ve got things figured out, another wave floods your mind. It asks you to both think critically and guess at the same time, to wonder about what you’re reading and to wait patiently for the information you need. It is, I think, completely understandable why this book has been so highly acclaimed.

Piranesi as a character is curious. He changes and develops throughout the pages, but at the root of things is a kind, thoughtful soul who has developed to match his surroundings. He tracks time through the stars and the tides, and keeps meticulous notes about what is arround him. His journal entries, which make up the book, are full of wonderfully descriptive language, and demonstrate his faith in the House to provide him with everything he needs.

The book itself is also curious. As said above, it is made up of journal entries, and so we see things in the most personal of ways; people always share their deepest thoughts and feelings in the most biased of ways when writing in a journal or diary, and it is because of this that we get to really see the twists in the road through Piranesi’s eyes. It is beautifully written, and at times feels almost like an epic poem rather than a story at all.

Although parts of the journey that we see Piranesi take are rocky, he doesn’t lose his faith, confidence and hope, even in the darkest moments. Part of this is, of course, the influence of the journey itself, but it is also about him, and is a big motivational reason to keep following the course he is set on.

Thank you for stopping by today for this review. It’s a hard book to describe without spoiling it, but it will be one I recommend to people highly. There’s so much to be taken away from it, and I’m really pleased I managed to squeeze it in right at the end of last year.

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