Susanna Clarke: I never thought I could write a book again

"The beauty of the house is immeasurable; his kindness infinite". Until that level comes the devotion of Piranesi, the only inhabitant of a strange place in

Susanna Clarke: I never thought I could write a book again

"The beauty of the house is immeasurable; his kindness infinite". Until that level comes the devotion of Piranesi, the only inhabitant of a strange place in which halls, statues and stairs come to infinite. While the upper rooms are dominated by birds and covers of clouds, fearsome tides and marine creatures inhabit their lower levels. For Piranesi, "the house and the world for practical purposes are one and the same thing." Apart from the bones of the dead, to which he takes care of and venera, the only company of him is a mysterious visitor known as "the other".

This is the enigmatic point of departure of Piranesi (edited by Salamandra), one of the most original, mysterious and fascinating novels that has given the fantastic genre in recent years. Piranesi is also the triumphant return of Susanna Clarke (Nottingham, 1969) after more than 15 years of editorial silence.

The British writer became known in 2004 with the monumental Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which would later have television version by the BBC (can be seen in Filmin). Six months after publishing that novelón set in an alternative version of 19th century England, in which ancestral magic returned to light, Clarke began to feel an overwhelming exhaustion that often joined migraines, nausea and photosensitivity. Throughout these years he has received several diagnoses, including Lyme disease, Epstein-Barr virus or chronic fatigue syndrome, so he is still semi-filled in his Derbyshire country house, delivered entirely to literature when Your symptoms refer.

"I felt incredibly grateful and happy to have been able to finish writing Piranesi, something I thought I would never do again," the author explains by email.

Can Piranesi be understood as a reflection on the loneliness of its long illness? "Obviously, there are parallels between the status of the protagonist and that of a person like me, but the disease was not the germ of the book."

That happened long before, he says, going back in the early 1980s. "When I was 20 years old, I was fascinated by the stories of Borges, in particular TLÖN, UQBAR, Orbis Terius, the Library of Babel and the House of Asterion. The strange atmosphere of those stories seized me. He had this Borgesian image in my mind of a large house with stairs and rooms, some of them abandoned, and tides that were putting them in great danger to anyone who lived there. "

To the creation of that labyrinth without minotaurus also contributed the engravings of the Italian architect Giovanni Battista Piranesi. Who gives title to the book and name to the protagonist decisively influenced the descriptions he makes Clarke of the house, inspired by a good part "in the melancholy atmosphere of his ruins and his extraordinary imaginary prisons."

There is also a unique autobiographical component in that world that Piranesi seems condemned to explore again and again. "When I was a teenager he lived in Bradford, a postindustrial city of northern England. There were many factories in which before, there was a wool fabric, but almost none of the buildings was occupied in the 70s. They remained immense, empty and lininous, with the windows full of sky. I loved being surrounded by those constructions and the drama that emanated from them. "

For Clarke, "the literature is undoubtedly a very powerful way of magic: it has the power to transport readers anywhere in the world or out of it." The roots of him in the fantastic genre come from his childhood and adolescence, a time when she "always wanted to escape other worlds. I loved that kind of literature: the Chronicles of Narnia de C. S. Lewis or the Trilogy of Terramar de Ursula K. Le Guin. In a way, everything was very real for me. I still find it difficult to realize that I have never walked by Narnia or the Island of Selever in Terramar, because they are places that I imagine in detail ».

Creating your own worlds and realities, however, it seems like a "more frustrating experience. At the moment a writer finishes creating a world, he belongs to the reader, and you can not visit him again in the same way. It is like an architect that enters a building that he has designed: he does not stop checking if the elevators work well and if he has placed the windows in the right place. "

If the main character of his novel understands the Scripture "as the habit of precision and care", Clarke describes his search for inspiration similar to the wandering of piranesi by those infinite rooms. "It's like wandering through a landscape while you pick up things you're finding and examined carefully. What you are looking for are those ideas that resonately resonate, that seem to have sunken roots in the subconscious and in dreams ».

A task that she performs disorderly and described as "quite strange. I take advantage of the scene, the character or the event that most worries me in every moment, I write that part and perfect it until it is quite finished. You may not know what happens between stockings, so then I have to go back to the top and try to make a coherent narrative with all the pieces, and that is usually the difficult part of the process. " A gigantic puzzle that will then add the reader, also subjugated before the "immeasurable beauty" of that house that is piranesi.

Updated Date: 21 September 2021, 09:37

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