Skip to main content

Featured Post

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel | Thoughts

   Published : 2021   ||    Format : print   ||    Location : Colombia ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆   What was it about the country that kept everyone hostage to its fantasy? The previous month, on its own soil, an American man went to his job at a plant and gunned down fourteen coworkers, and last spring alone there were four different school shootings. A nation at war with itself, yet people still spoke of it as some kind of paradise.. Thoughts : Infinite Country follows two characters - young Talia, who at the beginning of this book, escapes a girl’s reform school in North Colombia so that she can make her previously booked flight to the US. Before she can do that, she needs to travel many miles to reach her father and get her ticket to the rest of her family. As we follow Talia’s treacherous journey south, we learn about how she ended up in the reform school in the first place and why half her family resides in the US. Infinite Country tells the story of her family through the other protagonist, El

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke | Thoughts

          Published: 2020   ||   Format: ebook   ||   Location: US

One line summary: Piranesi is happily living his days, collaborating with The Other, journaling his activities, until a tear appears in his life fabric, a stranger starts popping up in his house to communicate with him.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


Perhaps even people you like and admire immensely can make you see the World in ways you would rather not.


Piranesi spends his days cataloguing his activities and taking care of the House where he stays. This is no ordinary house - it has endless corridors, walls, halls, and statues. The floors get flooded and birds fly into the halls. To Piranesi, this is all normal though. According to him, there is only one other person who stays in the house/world. He calls this person The Other. 

His sense of normalcy however, is shattered one day when he sees evidence of another person in their world. The Other seems to know who the third person is and believes a terrible danger will befall them if their paths cross with the new person. Piranesi is worried but also realizes that something is amiss here.

Piranesi is by far one of the strangest and best executed books I’ve ever read. It’s also incredibly hard to talk about without mentioning at least a few spoilers. So I am going to try hard here to stick with what I thought and felt without mentioning anything major from the story. 

Piranesi’s world is certainly very different from the one we inhabit. It has a sense of isolation, calm, and peace. Almost like being at a quiet beach. Piranesi is big into record taking. He journals very frequently and also tracks data about his world a lot. You get that sense right from the beginning - the way the chapters are written, the way he has named the halls, the way he predicts future weather phenomena, the way he numbers his years. 

There are a lot of details and it wasn’t clear for a long time where the book was heading but reading the book felt just like taking a walk at a beach - calm, peaceful, and very necessary for the soul. There is a path and a destination but these aren't at the top of one's mind while strolling on the beach. This could have been marketed as a meditation book and I would have loved it. Of course it is far from meditation. 

True, everything is not as it seems - we learn early on that Piranesi is an unreliable narrator - so I had more questions by the end than the author answers. I read this book with an online book group and after reading everyone else’s thoughts, I realized it didn’t matter that the book is open-ended. There were a few possible interpretations for the story and ultimately each person was going to interpret it differently depending on their experiences, their life views, their reading tastes, their beliefs, etc. I found that I questioned everything I assumed simply because the book was from Piranesi's pov but after a lot of thinking, I settled for a middle ground. 

If you can’t tell yet, I absolutely loved this book. I haven’t read the author's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell but that book is high on my wishlist now. I have heard they are very different books but I can’t wait to try it.

Which book comes to mind when you think about unreliable narrators?