Review: Piranesi

How many times can I misspell a book title within one review?

First up, I luuuurve Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, but I will say Paranesi is quite a different work. First obvious thing is Paranesi is quite a bit shorter, and reads closer to a novella or short story than a tome.

Explaining the story for a review is a little difficult! We follow Paranesi, a foggy narrator living in a mysterious world of birds, statues and ever changing tides. As the story progresses we gradually learn more about the world, and eventually start to get hints about the ‘real world’ and what is really going on.

I confess at first I worried the story might be too complex or subtle for me, as there are many mystery messages and interesting allusions, but even though the book begins with a lot of questions and still has some intrigue by the end, its not a chore to follow.

Paranesi is definitely an acquired taste, I actually thought the closest influence was HP Lovecraft, the book is highly original and recommended for those who want something a bit different.

SPOILER FILLED ANALYSIS

While shrouded for much of the book it’s later revealed that Piranesi is a journalist/writer who had been investigating a small group of occultists who believed they could travel between worlds. In part of his investigation ‘Piranesi’ is tricked into entering this other world full of statues and is gaslit and manipulated by ‘the other’ to basically run errands in this other place.

By the end of the tale Piranesi doesn’t fully recover his old persona and doesn’t fully want to leave the Other World. It’s never quite explained what that other world is, however its revealed that the statues are all of real people, suggesting the world was perhaps a collective subconscious, shared dream, or oddly when I first started reading the book I thought it might be the very beginning or very end of the universe.

I haven’t Googled the deeper meanings or rather when I did I saw a lot of metaphoric analysis which is going to be awesome to enjoy. I won’t try and summarize it all here as I feel its a bit beyond me – but indeed, very much enjoyed.

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