Piranesi is an odd and engrossing little book that feels both similar and entirely different to Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (especially in terms of page numbers).
Our titular character (although he’s not sure that’s really his name) lives in the House, a labyrinthine structure with waves thundering through its statue filled halls. Piranesi spends his time exploring, fishing, foraging and calculating the tides while recording everything that happens in his journals, ready for his meetings with the Other.
The Other is the only other person that inhabits these halls and is looking for the Great and Secret Knowledge, utilising Piranesi as a sort of assistant. Through his twice weekly meetings with the Other, it soon becomes apparent to the reader that these two are not exactly in the same situation through small clues and hints dropped along the way as to what’s really going on.
It feels like saying anything more about this would spoil the unfolding of the tale for other readers, so I’ll refrain other than saying that the atmosphere throughout reminded me of the faerie parts of Jonathan Strange, and despite this book’s much lighter size it still felt kind of epic.
If you’re struggling to find either the time or the concentration levels needed to read at the moment, you could do a lot worse than picking this up. I’ve really struggled to find the headspace given my workload at the moment, and yet devoured Piranesi in the space of a couple of hours at the weekend.