14 thoughts on “Piranesi – Susanna Clarke

  1. “These Absences are as mysterious in their way as the Statues themselves.”

    Piranesi, the young (?) ‘narrator’, although that is not my name, talks of one Other, who is not You, who is still alive, and the skeletons of those dead, include the Folded-Up Child who died too young to be my bride. A text of hauntingly multi-Upper-Cased words for things, such as Tiers (that thus involve lower-cases, too?) , and infrequently converging Tides, Halls and Statues, some missing. Floods of varying depths. And a list of those who can be listed but who no longer exist as moving parts in this story?

    I have read this book up to: “And You. Who are You? Who is it that I am writing for?”

  2. “This Journal (No. 10) was begun on the Fifth Day of the Fifth Month in the Year the Albatross came to the South-Western Halls.”

    In this review, heretofrom, I intend to keep as many words as possible with initial lower-case letters. Unlike in the book itself where many words start with upper case ones. I notice the inconsistent method of recording years in these my journals, and then tell you of the various statues I like more than other statues
    I now tell you again of ‘the other’ and his interview today of me. I suspect his use of the word batter-sea to test me out. I claim this word does not exist.

    I have now read up to: “In the Halls beneath us the incoming Tide struck a Wall. Boom.

  3. “But as I stood, casting my net into the Waters of the Lower Staircase, an image rose up before me. I saw a black scribble against a grey Sky and a flicker of bright red; words drifted towards me – white words on a black background.”

    Some of these passages are amazingly haunting, about water and tides and the halls and statues and then winter coming, as words to my journals, with snow,
    and is this some visionary version of a Venice amid climate change? Global warming can cause unseasonal aberrations as well as warming itself, I guess.
    The seasons of seaweed.
    ‘High tides’ and ‘low tides’ as aberrant upper and lower case letters?

    I have now read so far up to: “I saw a vision! In the dim Air above the grey Waves hung a white, shining cross.”

  4. “as if I were a chess piece on a board.” is written, too, in above section just reviewed …

    This is Kandinsky’s painting WHITE CROSS 1922 that is held in a Venice gallery, and you can see the white cross as part of the chess board in the right hand corner.
    Earlier in PIRANESI, I recall there was a reference to two chess kings moving…

  5. I have now read up to: “: perhaps the albatross and I were destined to merge and the two of us would become another order of being entirely: an Angel!”

    Alba as in albino is white, tross rhymes with cross, and an albatross is ‘a cross to bear’.
    cf earlier shining white cross vision that becomes an albatross.

  6. Read up to: “…it was like walking under the dripping branches of a great forest of Arms and Bodies.”

    Two albatrosses, his mate having joined him. Wings somehow tangled with my own imagined ones. All useless when grounded. This bird’s name now the name of the year in which I write. As I continue to help you to explore with me the upper halls and to conceive the lower ones called drowned halls. Upper and lower case words, remember, are not recorded in my review here, all words lower unless they start a sentence. Or a name in itself, like Trampled Man. Some amazingly evocative descriptions here, if I say so myself!

  7. “Today I would consider it madness to journey through a Hall I cannot see properly and of which I have no record,…”

    …like reading this book as I explore the deceptive Halls alongside you. Or may be I am the reviewing safety-net of the Trampled Man himself?!
    I at least feel that is so.

    Just replace the word ‘birds’ below by ‘books’ in this quote whereto I have so far read…
    “Yet it has occurred to me that there may be more wisdom in birds than appears at first sight, a wisdom that reveals itself only obliquely and intermittently.”

  8. “….perhaps the wisdom of birds resides, not in the individual, but in the flock, the congregation.”

    Very nearly my whole life in last 12 years has been ‘congregation’ triangulating of readers’ various coordinates and/or gestalt real-time reviewing and this narrator in journals is such real-time reporting! As here explicitly explained!

    Read up to:
    “However, it is with this hypothesis in mind that I record something which happened this morning.”

    Piranesi as para-easy?

  9. B2B19173-B88B-4944-B790-5228129F8804“; and so the only viable course of action is months – more likely years – of careful observation and meticulous record keeping.”

    And thus has been my wont. To dutifully and relentlessly scry the obscure and the otherwise seemingly aberrant connections, here specifically with an Angel that the birds – as representative of the books – tell me in their congregated message.

    Read up to: “A book contains Writing. Clouds hide what is there. Writing that is somehow obscure.”

  10. “The Ritual is a piece of ceremonial magic by which the Other intends to free the Great and Secret Knowledge from whatever holds it captive in the World and to transfer it to ourselves.”

    Exactly! See all my Gestalt Real-Time Reviews over last 12 years approaching their coming death point….

    Read up to: “… I imagine myself living forever, reading someone else’s thoughts, becoming invisible and so on.”

  11. It is almost as if the Other’s ritual is a ritual from within the fiction to make the fiction thus magical. And his kindness to me with shoes etc. as reciprocated by myself to find him sufficient targets for his ritual and a venue, by exploring halls or hall alike or unlike…

    Read up to: “I almost forgot to breathe. For a moment I had an inkling of what it might be like if instead of two people in the World there were thousands.”

    And as to thousands, I leave this book for your explorations. I increasingly find that I cannot do justice to this book by describing it any more. I think I am about a quarter through reading it. And I intend to cherish the rest alone — myself AS the Other. And I will no longer be publicly tracking my journey with it and within it. All the best with your own journey in different halls, seeing different statues. Whether in upper stories or lower.


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