Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi is not what you’re expecting. And I say that with no knowledge of what it is you are expecting, really—just the confidence that whatever it is, it’s not this.

This is going to be one of those very unsatisfactory booklog entries where I can’t really talk about the book at all, because the book is a series of revelations and discoveries, such that if I started describing it, all I could do is decide what point in the book I’m comfortable spoiling up to. But okay, look, I guess I can spoil the first page: It is a book where a Moon rises in a Hall that has Vestibules, Tides, Staircases, and Statues. Beyond that, you’ll need to read the book (or, let’s be honest, literally any other description online, probably including the book’s own back cover—but genuinely don’t do that) to find out.

And should you? Well, that’s a hard question to answer. I liked it, but it’s also one of the strangest books I’ve read in a while. It is not, in meaningful ways, like either Ann Leckie’s The Raven Tower or Jo Walton’s The Just City, but it shares with them a fundamental oddness that removes it from the genre mainstream. I liked it, both the contemplative mood it creates at first and the ways it evolves as it goes on; recommended if you’re up for something kinda weird that’s going to take some patience


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