Women’s Prize for Fiction – Piranesi

Award

Other names for the prize: Orange Prize for Fiction, Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction, and Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction

Novel

I was going to read Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller which is very popular but for some reason I wasn’t in the mood. My mom thinks Song of Achilles is one of the best books she’s ever read so I couldn’t have gone wrong if I had read it. It also won this award. However, I decided to read Piranesi by Susana Clarke and boy oh boy was it a wonderful decision. I’ve never read a book that felt so otherworldly before, while also being so down to earth.

Third Person: The Biscuit-Box Man

The Biscuit-Box Man is a skeleton that resides in an Empty Niche in the Third North-Western Hall.

When I first discovered Biscuit-Box Man, the seaweed twine had dried up and fallen apart and he had become rather untidy. I made new twine from fish leather and tied up his bundles of bones again. Now he is in good order once more.

The descriptions at the beginning are unlike anything I’ve ever read. It doesn’t give a clue as to what the book will be about but it sets up the scenery of where it will take place and what you will find. I know some people need to be captivated by a book within the first few pages but I don’t think this book does that necessarily. I enjoyed that it was a mystery at the beginning which made me want to read more, but I don’t think everyone likes that. I would say it doesn’t start to come together until halfway through. If you don’t pay attention in the first half, the second half won’t quite make sense.

I climbed up on to his Plinth and flung Myself into his Arms, wrapping an arm around his neck, intertwining my fingers with his Fingers. Safe in his embrace, I wept for my lost Sanity. Great, heaving sobs rose up, almost painfully, from my chest.

Hush! he told me. Be comforted!

This has to be one of the best main characters of any book I’ve read. Piranesi is such a joy. The book is made up of journal entries written by him. It’s such a slow unfurling of the plot that it’s lucky the author is so good at what she does. It could get boring very easily without the mastery of her writing. I was surprised by the ending and it left me with a content feeling. The style is different from other books as well, but isn’t that what makes reading so exciting? You never know what to expect. The next quote shows an example of the capitalizations you will come across through the novel.

I paused. I knew as I looked at it there was something very strange here. But the strange thing was so strange, so entirely incomprehensible that I found it difficult to form coherent thoughts about it. I could see the strangeness with my eyes, but I could not think it with my mind.

I don’t read many fantasy books but if this gives any indication of what they can be like, then I should start reading more of them. I’m grateful for Susanna Clarke’s writing. My friend read her other book Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell and she recommends that one as well.

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