Tag Archives: Fantasy

Review: Piranesi

Piranesi

Piranesi
By Susanna Clarke
Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781635577808, September 2021, 272pp.

The Short of It:

Wildly imaginative. 

The Rest of It:

Our main character is called Piranesi, although he knows this is not his real name. He lives in a house with many halls and rooms. Each room is filled with beautiful statues in various stages of decomposition. Many, damaged by the birds or the harsh salt water environment. Because you see, this “house” has been taken over by the tides and the sea life within it. Fog rolls in. Rain is the only source of fresh water. Piranesi lives here with one Other, literally called “Other” and he tends to the many remains of those who came before him. 

I am not  much of a fantasy reader but from page two, I was completely sucked into this story. For one, the writing is lovely. Two, I could “see” this house in my mind. And although it’s a lonely kind of story, Piranesi is a happy person, content with keeping track of the tides and his research. But as you read, many questions come to mind. How did he get there? What has happened to civilization? Why doesn’t he leave?

I read an interview with the author and how she was suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome while writing this. How she felt so isolated from the real world, while tending to her debilitating illness. This definitely played a role in how the story plays out. The isolation is palpable but so is hope. 

This story is so different and refreshing. There’s enough of a mystery to pull you in, but your heart will be with Piranesi as he tries to piece this all together. It’s a fascinating read. I really need to own a nice physical copy of this one. I can see myself picking it up again to read soon. A classic. 

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: The Midnight Library

The Midnight Library

The Midnight Library
By Matt Haig
Viking, 9780525559474, September 2020, 304pp.

The Short of It:

What would you do if you were given a chance to live a different life?

The Rest of It:

Nora Seed has made some bad decisions throughout her life. Some affected other people, like her brother and her kind next door neighbor. She doesn’t feel as if she matters or belongs anywhere, or with anyone. One night, she just can’t take anymore and decides to end it.

But Nora is given another chance. She awakes to find herself in a library of sorts. This library is run by a person from Nora’s past, Mrs. Elm. Mrs. Elm walks Nora through this strange labyrinth of books called The Midnight Library. It’s a library that houses one particular book that could change Nora’s life, The Book of Regrets. In it, is each regret that Nora has felt or experienced over the course of her life. In addition to this book, are other books and these books represent the lives she’s lived by taking a different path. While she hovers between this world and the real world, she is given the option of borrowing one of those lives to see if it’s a good fit for her. Some work out more than others, some further illustrate the effects of her poor decisions over the years. These decisions do not prove easy for Nora and once you decide on a particular life, there’s no going back.

I can recall at least three other books I’ve read that had a similar storyline and yes, the story is a little repetitive and might remind you of the movie Groundhog Day. If you are looking for a totally unique reading experience, you won’t get that with The Midnight Library, however, it did come together quite nicely and I agree with most everyone that it’s a feel-good type of read but it takes a little while to get there. I also had a little trouble connecting to Nora. She’s detached from reality but not in the endearing way that Eleanor was in Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. If that helps any.

What I liked a lot was the opportunity to live your life a different way and to realize how your choices impact other people. I liked that Nora’s experiences helped to shape and define “happiness” and I liked the visual that Haig created with The Midnight Library itself.

It’s a pleasant, feel-good book. Gives you a little food for thought, too.

Source: Purchased
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.