Susanna Clarke’s Labyrinthine ‘Piranesi’ Will Lock You In : NPR

by Ari Shapiro

Her latest is called Piranesi ­­– that’s also her narrator’s name — and his whole world is a strange, labyrinthine house. His name comes from a real-life person, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, an 18th-century architect and artist. “He did some engravings of fantastic prisons which have haunted my imagination for a long time,” Clarke says. “They could possibly be real places, but quite dark and looming. I must admit, I kind of want to go to those fantastic prisons … and I want to walk around. … They’re meant to be gloomy, but I find them quite attractive.” The fictional Piranesi explores the massive halls lined with towering statues. He catches fish in the oceans that roar through rooms down below. He’s at home in this mysterious house. “He’s in a very strange and in some ways inhospitable place, but he doesn’t feel it’s inhospitable,” Clarke explains. “It is a meaningful place. The statues and the house all feel generally overwhelmingly benevolent to him and he feels like he is in communion with them, like he is sort of almost having a conversation with the world in which he finds himself.”…

Susanna Clarke’s Labyrinthine ‘Piranesi’ Will Lock You In : NPR
image from Bloomsbury Press on Home Sweet Labyrinth: Susanna Clarke’s Mysterious ‘Piranesi’ Will Lock You In

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