SFF

Piranesi

Bloomsbury USA. Sept. 2020. 272p. ISBN 9781635575637. $27. Fantasy
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Clarke’s (Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell) deftly written new novel is the diary of the main character, Piranesi, a man living in a labyrinthine building with infinite rooms full of enormous statues. He meets one other person, a mysterious figure called the Other, who is obsessed with finding the Great & Secret Knowledge. The Other enlists Piranesi’s help to map the building and locate the knowledge. But as Piranesi’s love of the building grows, so, too, does his understanding of who he is and how he got there. The Other’s true intentions are gradually revealed when another being, possibly from a distant world, contacts Piranesi. Once Piranesi knows the truth, he must make decisions that will overturn his reality. Piranesi is an empathetic character, gullible to a fault, but only because of his limited worldview.
VERDICT Clarke creates an immersive world that readers can almost believe exists. This is a solid crossover pick for readers whose appreciation of magical fantasy leans toward V.E. Schwab or Erin Morgenstern.

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