Cover of Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
Susanna Clarke
Finished: November 1, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

When I was in my 20s, I had a healthy social life AND social anxiety which is a hell of a cocktail. Every night I'd come home full of beer and emotions and I'd have real difficulty in shutting my brain off so I could go to sleep. Nothing worked. I'd just lie in my bed going over everything I'd said or did trying to think about things I could have said or did differently. For hours. And then I bought a DVD box set of The Prisoner. I'd put on an episode and it would pummel my brain into submission. Everything about it is so strange and confusing that my mind would give up trying to figure out what was happening and just shut down after 10 minutes.

Piranesi brought back this feeling so hard. I don't just mean thematically (although there are plenty of similarities between the book and The Prisoner -- similarities I'm sure someone with a medium dot com account and a pathological inability to allow a take go un-taken will happily point out). I really struggled with the opening of this book because every night I would feel my mind saying "fuuuuucccck this book I can't figure out what's going on" and shutting down. Every single time. It wasn't until page 100 or so where something finally clicked for me and the story started to make sense and I blasted through the second half.

Loved it. It’s a perfect perfect autumn story.