Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (speculative fiction)

Characters: 5/5 Writing: 4.5/5 Plot: 4/5
Piranesi is a simple being who lives in a massive world called The House, populated by vast quantities of Statues, one friend (The Other) and the bones of 13 others whom Piranesi has named and cares for as one would their dead. Piranesi is a rationalist and has set himself the task of documenting as much as he can about his world — the Statues, the various Halls, the incoming tides, etc, carefully logging everything in his journals with a special cross reference index. Whenever he is troubled, he remembers that he is a Beloved Child of the House. Until one day, something triggers him to look into some of the older journals…

This book is a kind of Robinson Crusoe of the mind, full of philosophy, madness, and surprising resolution. It is a fascinating possible answer to the question “What happens to old ideas as they leave the world?” The start was a bit slow for me but I finally got into the rhythm of the book and finished it in almost a single sitting. (To be fair, it is a relatively short book at 245 pages, and I am home, sick). The ending was thought provoking and a little bittersweet. Definitely worth a read.

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