Piranesi 602 579: A Novel Inspired by the Art and Architecture of Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Piranesi 602 579 is a fantasy novel by English author Susanna Clarke, published by Bloomsbury Publishing in 2020. It is Clarke's second novel, following her debut Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (2004), published sixteen years earlier. The novel is set in a parallel universe made up of an infinite number of halls and vestibules, which triggers a gradual awakening of the protagonist's memory and identity[^3^].
The novel's title and premise are inspired by the art and architecture of Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778), an Italian artist famous for his etchings of Rome and of fictitious and atmospheric \"prisons\" (Le Carceri d'Invenzione). Piranesi was also a scholar of ancient Roman monuments, and published several works on their history and design[^2^]. The novel pays homage to Piranesi's style and vision, as well as to his influence on other writers and artists, such as Jorge Luis Borges, M.C. Escher, and J.R.R. Tolkien.
The novel's protagonist, who calls himself Piranesi, lives alone in a vast labyrinthine house filled with statues, tides, and birds. He believes that the house is the world, and that he is one of only two living humans in it. The other is a mysterious figure he calls \"the Other\", who visits him twice a week and claims to be searching for a secret knowledge hidden in the house. Piranesi records his observations and discoveries in his journals, which are numbered according to a system he devised based on the year, month, day, and tide. The novel begins with the entry \"Piranesi 602 579\", which corresponds to the 10th day of the fifth month in the year 2012 according to Piranesi's calendar.
As the novel progresses, Piranesi begins to encounter clues that suggest that his world is not what it seems, and that he has a past life that he cannot remember. He also discovers that there are other people in the house, some of whom are friendly and some of whom are hostile. He learns that he is part of a complex plot involving magic, murder, and betrayal, and that he must find a way to escape the house and reclaim his true identity.
Piranesi 602 579 is a novel that explores themes such as memory, identity, imagination, reality, and the power of art. It is a tribute to the genius and creativity of Giovanni Battista Piranesi, as well as a reflection on the human condition and the nature of the universe. It is a novel that challenges the reader to question their own assumptions and perceptions, and to marvel at the beauty and mystery of the world.The novel has received widespread critical acclaim, with reviewers praising Clarke's imaginative and elegant writing, her masterful use of unreliable narration, and her exploration of themes such as solitude, memory, and fantasy. The novel was nominated for the 2020 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Fantasy[^2^], and won the 2021 Women's Prize for Fiction. The judges described it as a \"triumph of imagination and storytelling\" and a \"book of hope within hopelessness\" .
Some critics have also noted the parallels between Piranesi's experience and Clarke's own. Clarke suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome for many years, which limited her ability to write and interact with the world. She has said that Piranesi was partly inspired by her own isolation and coping mechanisms, as well as by her fascination with Piranesi's art[^1^]. She has also said that she wanted to write a novel that was different from Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, both in style and tone, and that she hoped to surprise and delight her readers with a new kind of fantasy[^3^].
Piranesi 602 579 is a novel that invites multiple readings and interpretations, as well as comparisons with other works of literature and art. It is a novel that challenges the boundaries between reality and fiction, between madness and wisdom, between loneliness and friendship. It is a novel that celebrates the power of imagination and the resilience of the human spirit. It is a novel that will stay with you long after you finish it. a474f39169