“May your Paths be safe, your Floors unbroken and may the House fill your eyes with Beauty.”
What is Piranesi About?
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.
I could not put this book down for the life of me. It’s been a long time since a story gripped my imagination the way that this one did and as I sit in the aftermath of it, I feel like I’ve just awoken from a dream I can still feel but can’t quite remember.
Coming in at 245 pages, Piranesi is much shorter than a lot of the books I pick up, but it packed no less of a punch. I was told by others before going in that I should approach this book without knowing anything about the premise and I have to agree that I think that’s the best way to experience it. It may seem a little odd at first, but let the beautiful prose take you on the journey.
It’s a story that delves deeply into themes of human nature, the supposedly immutable qualities of time and memory, and how one can choose to interact with the world around them. Despite dealing quite obviously with some of these themes, it’s also one of those books that hit me in the heart without me being able to exactly pinpoint why. Was it the prose? The atmosphere? The plot revelations? I’m not sure; all I know is that the urge to shed a tear was dredged up from somewhere.
If you are looking for something completely unique to sweep you away, I highly recommend picking up this book. You may just find what it was you were looking for.