There seems to be a recurring theme whenever I read books nominated for awards, or have in this case, won them. Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi (pronounced like ‘marinadey’) won the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021 and is not quite like anything I’ve read before, and not for the right reasons. This is a book that left me feeling very confused and I struggled to imagine the setting, whereas I usually have no problems with my creative outlet.
Overall, it was a bit nothing for me.
This may anger a lot of other readers and critics, but I just didn’t get it. There were themes of loneliness and betrayal, but other than that, I really struggled with the premise of this book.
It’s up there with my attitude towards No One is Talking About This (this still remains as one of the worst books I have ever read), which was also shortlisted for the same prize as Piranesi – The Vanishing Half on the other hand, my goodness why didn’t that win?! I LOVED it!
I think it requires a certain type of person to enjoy books like this and can see the deeper meaning, however I sadly saw it as pretentious and confusing. Even more so as I initially thought it would be based on Greek mythology and historical fiction by looking at the cover (the epitome on not to judge a book by its cover), but no, it was set in present day.
This is a book that really requires A LOT of imagination, more so than any others I’ve probably read to be honest. I struggled with the concept of Piranesi; this apparent mathematician is trying to avoid a person called ‘16’ who ‘the Other’ tells him wishes to bring him harm, where they are based in a large house with endless corridors and rooms which can experience different weathers, or fill with water, no light and broken items on the floor. Are you following? Me neither, it was so darn confusing!
I’m not quite sure what else to say about my experience with this book. It’s a short one but I struggled and slogged through it with a pensive focus for its majority.
I hope you see beyond what I did!
Rating – 2/5 ⭐️ ⭐️
Genre – Fantasy fiction, mystery