Review: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

The premise of Piranesi is that an unreliable narrator (Piranesi) is wandering a maze to help “the Other” find secret knowledge. It’s written as a series of journal entries and before long I knew more than the narrator—not necessarily a problem—but this reveals something about his selective memory: Piranesi forgets whatever might make the book shorter or less mysterious. Once he catches up to the reader, conflicts are resolved quickly and it’s hard to understand why the set-up went on for so very, very long. read more

Review: The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay

The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay is funny, but not as funny as advertised. The titular aunt was a child bride at age seven, and widowed by twelve, so that’s hardly the foundation of a laugh riot. What redeems this book is that its characters, primarily Somlata, are charming and the overall plot is optimistic. While the women’s voices sound strange at times, I can’t tell whether that’s attributable to a male author, translation issues, or cultural differences. read more