Piranesi Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Piranesi. Here they are! All 124 of them:

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The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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Perhaps even people you like and admire immensely can make you see the World in ways you would rather not.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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May your Paths be safe, your Floors unbroken and may the House fill your eyes with Beauty.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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The House is valuable because it is the House. It is enough in and of Itself. It is not the means to an end.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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It does not matter that you do not understand the reason. You are the Beloved Child of the House. Be comforted. And I am comforted.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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In my mind are all the tides, their seasons, their ebbs and their flows. In my mind are all the halls, the endless procession of them, the intricate pathways. When this world becomes too much for me, when I grow tired of the noise and the dirt and the people, I close my eyes and I name a particular vestibule to myself; then I name a hall.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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I realised that the search for the Knowledge has encouraged us to think of the House as if it were a sort of riddle to be unravelled, a text to be interpreted, and that if ever we discover the Knowledge, then it will be as if the Value has been wrested from the House and all that remains will be mere scenery.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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Birds are not difficult to understand. Their behaviour tells me what they are thinking. Generally it runs along the lines of: Is this food? Is this? What about this? This might be food. I am almost certain that this is. Or occasionally: It is raining. I do not like it.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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My last thought before I fell asleep was: He is dead. My only friend. My only enemy.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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Perhaps that is what it is like being with other people. Perhaps even people you like and admire immensely can make you see the World in ways you would rather not. Perhaps that is what Raphael means.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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Not everything about the Wind was bad. Sometimes it blew through the little voids and crevices of the Statues and caused them to sing and whistle in surprising ways; I had never known the Statues to have voices before and it made me laugh for sheer delight.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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had a long drink of water. It was delicious and refreshing (it had been a cloud only hours before).
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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It is my belief that the World (or, if you will, the House, since the two are for all practical purposes identical) wishes an Inhabitant for Itself to be a witness to its Beauty and the recipient of its Mercies. If I leave, then the House will have no Inhabitant and how will I bear the thought of it Empty?
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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Once, men and women were able to turn themselves into eagles and fly immense distances. They communed with rivers and mountains and received wisdom from them. They felt the turning of the stars inside their own minds. My contemporaries did not understand this. They were all enamoured with the idea of progress and believed that whatever was new must be superior to what was old. As if merit was a function of chronology! But it seemed to me that the wisdom of the ancients could not have simply vanished. Nothing simply vanishes. It’s not actually possible.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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In my mind are all the tides, their seasons, their ebbs and their flows.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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Our clothes were plastered to our bodies with wet. My hair - which is dark and curly - was as full of droplets as a Cloud. I rained every time I moved.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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The World feels Complete and Whole, and I, its Child, fit into it seamlessly. Nowhere is there any disjuncture where I ought to remember something but do not, where I ought to understand something but do not.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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The beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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Several times Waves passed over our heads, but they fell back the next instant. We were drenched, we were numbed, we were blinded, we were deafened; but always we were saved.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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Suddenly I saw in front of me the Statue of the Faun, the Statue that I love above all others. There was his calm, faintly smiling face; there was his forefinger gently pressed to his lips. [...] Hush! he told me. Be comforted!
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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the Theory of Other Worlds. Simply put, it said that when knowledge or power went out of this world it did two things: first, it created another place; and second, it left a hole, a door between this world where it had once existed and the new place it had made.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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Abandoning the search for the Knowledge would free us to pursue a new sort of science. We could follow any path that the data suggested to us.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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People call me a philosopher or a scientist or an anthropologist. I am none of those things. I am an anamnesiologist. I study what has been forgotten. I divine what has disappeared utterly. I work with absences, with silences, with curious gaps between things. I am really more of a magician than anything else.’ Laurence Arne-Sayles, interview in The Secret Garden, May 1976
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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I came out of the park. The city streets rose up around me. There was a hotel with a courtyard with metal tables and chairs for people to sit in more clement weather. Today they were snow-strewn and forlorn. A lattice of wire was strung across the courtyard. Paper lanterns were hanging from the wires, spheres of vivid orange that blew and trembled in theΒ snow and the thin wind; the sea-grey clouds raced across the sky and the orange lanterns shivered against them. The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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Once, men and women were able to turn themselves into eagles and fly immense distances. They communed with rivers and mountains and received wisdom from them. They felt the turning of the stars inside their own minds.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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This realisation – the realisation of the Insignificance of the Knowledge – came to me in the form of a Revelation. What I mean by this is that I knew it to be true before I understood why or what steps had led me there.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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This experience led me to form a hypothesis: perhaps the wisdom of birds resides, not in the individual, but in the flock, the congregation.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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The World feels complete and whole, and I, its Child, fit into it seamlessly.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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Of all the billions of people in this world Raphael is the one I know best and love most. I understand much better now – better than Piranesi ever could – the magnificent thing she did in coming to find me, the magnitude of her courage. I know that she returns to the labyrinth often. Sometimes we go together; sometimes she goes alone. The quiet and the solitude attract her strongly. In them she hopes to find what she needs. It worries me. β€˜Don’t disappear,’ I tell her sternly. β€˜Do not disappear.’ She makes a rueful, amused face. β€˜I won’t,’ she says. β€˜We can’t keep rescuing each other,’ I say. β€˜It’s ridiculous.’ She smiles. It is a smile with a little sadness in it. But she still wears the perfume – the first thing I ever knew of her – and it still makes me think of Sunlight and Happiness.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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Raphael looked around at the sombre grey Waters lapping the Walls and the dripping Statues. She didn't say anything. 'It's usually a lot drier than this,' I said quickly in case she was thinking that my Home was inhospitable and damp.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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but as a scientist and an explorer I have a duty to bear witness to the Splendours of the World.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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Perhaps that is what it is like being with other people. Perhaps even people you like and admire immensely can make you see the World in ways you would rather not...
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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In accordance with the first system I have named two years 2011 and 2012. This strikes me as deeply pedestrian. Also I cannot remember what happened two thousand years ago which made me think that year a good starting point. According to the second system I have given the years names like β€˜The Year I named the Constellations’ and β€˜The Year I counted and named the Dead’. I like this much more. It gives each year a character of its own. This is the system I shall use going forward.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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the idea that the Ancients had a different way of relating to the world, that they experienced it as something that interacted with them. When they observed the world, the world observed them back.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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I felt a surge of anger and for a moment I thought I would not tell him what I knew. But then I thought that it was unkind to punish him for something he cannot help. It is not his fault that he does not see things the way I do.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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The fantastic in literature doesn't exist as a challenge to what is probable, but only there where it can be increased to a challenge of reason itself: the fantastic in literature consists, when all has been said, essentially in showing the world as opaque, as inaccessible to reason on principle. This happens when Piranesi in his imagined prisons depicts a world peopled by other beings than those for which it was created. ("On the Fantastic in Literature")
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Lars Gustafsson
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As I walked, I was thinking about the Great and Secret Knowledge, which the Other says will grant us strange new powers. And I realised something. I realised that I no longer believed in it. Or perhaps that is not quite accurate. I thought it was possible that the Knowledge existed. Equally I thought that it was possible it did not. Either way it no longer mattered to me. I did not intend to waste my time looking for it any more. This realisation – the realisation of the Insignificance of the Knowledge – came to me in the form of a Revelation. What I mean by this is that I knew it to be true before I understood why or what steps had led me there. When I tried to retrace those steps my mind kept returning to the image of the One-Hundred-and-Ninety-Second Western Hall in the Moonlight, to its Beauty, to its deep sense of Calm, to the reverent looks on the Faces of the Statues as they turned (or seemed to turn) towards the Moon. I realised that the search for the Knowledge has encouraged us to think of the House as if it were a sort of riddle to be unravelled, a text to be interpreted, and that if ever we discover the Knowledge, then it will be as if the Value has been wrested from the House and all that remains will be mere scenery. The sight of the One-Hundred-and-Ninety-Second Western Hall in the Moonlight made me see how ridiculous that is. The House is valuable because it is the House. It is enough in and of Itself. It is not the means to an end. This thought led on to another. I realised that the Other’s description of the powers that the Knowledge will grant has always made me uneasy. For example: he says that we will have the power to control lesser minds. Well, to begin with there are no lesser minds; there are only him and me and we both have keen and lively intellects. But, supposing for a moment that a lesser mind existed, why would I want to control it?
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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I can see it is in the nature of men to prefer one thing to another, to find one thing more meaningful than another.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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In all these places I have stood in Doorways and looked ahead.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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I will concentrate on lending you the strength of my Spirit,’ I said. β€˜Fine. Good. You do that.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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He has a most charming smile when he remembers to use it.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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Today it stopped raining. The World became light of Heart again.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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There is a thing that I know but always forget: Winter is hard.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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Is it disrespectful to the House to love some Statues more than others? I sometimes ask Myself this question. It is my belief that the House itself loves and blesses equally everything that it has created. Should I try to do the same? Yet, at the same time, I can see that it is in the nature of men to prefer one thing to another, to find one thing more meaningful than another.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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have begun a Catalogue in which I intend to record the Position, Size and Subject of each Statue, and any other points of interest. So far I have completed the First and Second South-Western Halls and am engaged on the Third. The enormity of this task sometimes makes me feel a little dizzy, but as a scientist and an explorer I have a duty to bear witness to the Splendours of the World.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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The state of admiration is a condition of feeblemindedness. Most people are feebleminded all their lives only because they admire. Only a dimwit admires, the smart one doesn’t admire: he respects, observes, understands.
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Gerhard KΓΆpf (Piranesi's Dream)
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When she was a teenager D’Agostino told a friend that she wanted to go to university to study Death, Stars and Mathematics. Inexplicably the University of Manchester didn’t offer such a course, so she settled for Mathematics.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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And You. Who are You? Who is it that I am writing for? Are You a traveller who has cheated Tides and crossed Broken Floors and Derelict Stairs to reach these Halls? Or are You perhaps someone who inhabits my own Halls long after I am dead?
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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Do you trust the House? I ask Myself. Yes, I answer Myself. And if the House has made you forget, then it has done so for good reason. But I do not understand the reason. It does not matter that you do not understand the reason. You are the Beloved Child of the House. Be comforted. And I am comforted.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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I lined a fishing net with heavy-gauge plastic. Inside I placed what I thought was the right amount of nesting material for two such enormous birds. It approximated to three days’ fuel. This was no insignificant amount and I knew that I might be colder because I had given it away. But what is a few days of feeling cold compared to a new albatross in the World?..
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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As well as my regular meetings with the Other and the quiet, consolatory presence of the Dead, there are the birds. Birds are not difficult to understand. Their behaviour tells me what they are thinking. Generally it runs along the lines of: Is this food? Is this? What about this? This might be food. I am almost certain that this is. Or occasionally: It is raining. I do not like it.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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Mi sono reso conto che la ricerca della Conoscenza ci ha incoraggiato a pensare alla Casa come se fosse una sorta di enigma da sciogliere, un testo da interpretare, e che se mai scoprissimo la Conoscenza, allora sarebbe come se alla Casa venisse strappato via il valore lasciando soltanto una semplice scenografia. (...) La Casa ha valore in sé perché è la Casa. È sufficiente già di per sé. Non è un mezzo per arrivare a un fine.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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In my mind are all the tides, their seasons, their ebbs and their flows. In my mind are all the halls, the endless procession of them, the intricate pathways. When this world becomes too much for me, when I grow tired of the noise and the dirt and the people, I close my eyes and I name a particular vestibule to myself; then I name a hall. I imagine I am walking the path from the vestibule to the hall. I note with precision the doors I must pass through, the rights and lefts that I must take, the statues on the walls that I must pass. Last night I dreamt that I was standing in the fifth northern hall facing the statue of the gorilla. The gorilla dismounted from his plinth and came towards me with his slow knuckle-walk. He was grey-white in the moonlight; and I flung my arms around his massive neck and told him how happy I was to be home. When I awoke I thought: I am not home. I am here.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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Once, when I had not eaten for two days, I determined to go to the Drowned Halls to find some food. I ascended to the Upper Halls. This in itself was not easy for someone in my enfeebled condition. The Staircases, though they vary in size, are mostly built on the same noble scale as the rest of the House and each Step is almost twice the height that is comfortable for me. (It is as though God had originally built the House intending to people it with Giants before inexplicably changing His Mind.)
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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Almost as important is the need to guard Myself against the return of illness. To this end I have resolved to take better care of Myself. I must not become so absorbed in my scientific work that I forget to fish and end up with nothing to eat. (The House provides much food for the active and enterprising person. There is no excuse for going hungry!) I must devote more of my energies to mending my clothes and making coverings for my feet, which are often cold. (Question: is it possible to knit socks from seaweed? Doubtful.)
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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This afternoon I walked through the city, making for a cafΓ© where I was to meet Raphael. It was about half-past two on a day that had never really got light. It began to snow. The low clouds made a grey ceiling for the city; the snow muffled the noise of the cars until it became almost rhythmical; a steady, shushing noise, like the sound of tides beating endlessly on marble walls. I closed my eyes. I felt calm. There was a park. I entered it and followed a path through an avenue of tall, ancient trees with wide, dusky, grassy spaces on either side of them. The pale snow sifted down through bare winter branches. The lights of the cars on the distant road sparkled through the trees: red, yellow, white. It was very quiet. Though it was not yet twilight the streetlights shed a faint light. People were walking up and down on the path. An old man passed me. He looked sad and tired. He had broken veins on his cheeks and a bristly white beard. As he screwed up his eyes against the falling snow, I realised I knew him. He is depicted on the northern wall of the forty-eighth western hall. He is shown as a king with a little model of a walled city in one hand while the other hand he raises in blessing. I wanted to seize hold of him and say to him: In another world you are a king, noble and good! I have seen it! But I hesitated a moment too long and he disappeared into the crowd. A woman passed me with two children. One of the children had a wooden recorder in his hands. I knew them too. They are depicted in the twenty-seventh southern hall: a statue of two children laughing, one of them holding a flute. I came out of the park. The city streets rose up around me. There was a hotel with a courtyard with metal tables and chairs for people to sit in more clement weather. Today they were snow-strewn and forlorn. A lattice of wire was strung across the courtyard. Paper lanterns were hanging from the wires, spheres of vivid orange that blew and trembled in theΒ snow and the thin wind; the sea-grey clouds raced across the sky and the orange lanterns shivered against them. The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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I took his poor, broken head into my lap and cradled it. 'Your good looks are gone,' I told him. 'But you mustn't worry about it. This unsightly condition is only temporary. Don't be sad. Don't fear. I will place you somewhere where the fish and the birds can strip away all this broken flesh. It will soon be gone. Then you will be a handsome skull and handsome bones. I will put you in good order and you can rest in the Sunlight and the Starlight. The Statues will look down on you with Blessing. I am sorry that I was angry with you. Forgive me.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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After she had gone, I thought about what she had said. I cannot imagine not wanting to be with people. (Though it is true that Dr. Ketterley was sometimes annoying.) I remembered how Raphael had wondered which of the People of the Alcove had been murdered and the simple fact of her posing the question had made the whole World seem a darker, sadder place. Perhaps that is what it is like being with other people. Perhaps even people you like and admire immensely can make you see the World in ways you would rather not. Perhaps that is what Raphael means.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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I once wrote in my Journal: It is my belief that the World (or, if you will, the House, since the two are for all practical purposes identical) wishes an Inhabitant for Itself to be a witness to its Beauty and the recipient of its Mercies. If I leave, then the House will have no Inhabitant and how will I bear the thought of it Empty? Yet the simple fact is that if I remain in these Halls I will be alone. In one sense I suppose I will be no more alone than before. Raphael has promised to visit me, just as the Other visited me before. And Raphael really is my friend – whereas the Other’s feelings towards me were mixed, to say the least. Whenever the Other left me he went back to his own World, but I did not know that at the time; I thought that he was simply in another Part of the House. Believing that there was someone else here made me less lonely. Now, when Raphael returns to the Other World, I will know that I am alone. And so for this reason I have decided to go with Raphael. I have returned all of the Dead to their allotted places. Today I walked through the Halls as I have done a thousand times before. I visited all my most beloved Statues and as I gazed on each one, I thought: Perhaps this will be the last time I look on your Face. Goodbye! Goodbye!
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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Nu hield ik erg van groot en zacht, dat doe ik nog. Ik ging trouw naar bed met een vossebont dat vreselijk verhaarde en kleine glimmende kraaloogjes had. Het is tot nu toe mijn grootste liefde gebleven, samen met de geelgerande watertor, een half jaar gehouden in een zinken emmer, toen ging hij dood; en wellicht die poedel gekocht bij de dames Heuvel van de speelgoedwinkel, zelf uitgezocht, ja, ik had goede ouders.
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Dirkje Kuik
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in a tiny corner saved for his bed among the Piranesi-like perspective of volume piled upon volume.
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Carlos Fuentes (Myself with Others: Selected Essays)
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(Even know, as I write the words, I begin to feel anxious again. A crowd of images stirs in my mind β€” strange, nightmarish, but at the same time oddly familiar. The word 'Birmingham', for example, brings with it a blare of noise, a flash of movement and colour and the fleeting image of towers and spires against a heavy grey sky. I try to catch hold of these impressions, to examine them further, but instantly they fade.)
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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(Even now, as I write the words, I begin to feel anxious again. A crowd of images stirs in my mind β€” strange, nightmarish, but at the same time oddly familiar. The word 'Birmingham', for example, brings with it a blare of noise, a flash of movement and colour and the fleeting image of towers and spires against a heavy grey sky. I try to catch hold of these impressions, to examine them further, but instantly they fade.)
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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I went to the North-Eastern Corner and climbed up to the Statue of an Angel caught on a Rose Bush. I fetched out my brown leather messenger bag. I took all of my Journals out of it. There were nine of them. Just nine. I did not find twenty others that I had inexplicably overlooked until this moment.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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I remember how the smell of the rain that pervaded the streets did not die away as I entered, but somehow intensified; inside the house there was a smell of rain, clouds and air, a smell of limitless space. A smell of the sea.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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The House was particularly silent. No birds flew; no birds sang. Where had they all gone? It seemed they found the cloud-haunted World as oppressive as I did. In the Sixth Western Hall I found them at last. They were gathered there, perched on the Shoulders and Heads of every Statue, on Plinths and on Columns, sitting silently, waiting.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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And so I have to ask myself: whose memory is at fault? Mine or his? [...] Two memories. Two bright minds which remember past events differently,
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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The rooks made a fuss at my approach. Yes, yes. I am glad to see you too, I told them. Only I have things to do today and cannot stop for a long conversation.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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I have to consider the needs of the Biscuit-Box Man – and the Folded-Up Child – and the People of the Alcove. They only have me to take care of them. They are in unfamiliar surroundings and may feel disconcerted. I have to return them to their appointed places.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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Yes,’ said Raphael. β€˜Here you can only see a representation of a river or a mountain, but in our world – the other world – you can see the actual river and the actual mountain.’ This annoyed me. β€˜I do not see why you say I can only see a representation in this World,’ I said with some sharpness. β€˜The word β€œonly” suggests a relationship of inferiority. You make it sound as if the Statue was somehow inferior to the thing itself. I do not see that that is the case at all. I would argue that the Statue is superior to the thing itself, the Statue being perfect, eternal and not subject to decay.’ β€˜Sorry,’ said Raphael. β€˜I didn’t mean to disparage your world.’ There was a silence. β€˜What is the Other World like?’ I asked. Raphael looked as if she did not know quite how to answer this question. β€˜There are more people,’ she said at last. β€˜A lot more?’ I asked. β€˜Yes.’ β€˜As many as seventy?’ I asked, deliberately choosing a high, rather improbable number. β€˜Yes,’ she said. Then she smiled. β€˜Why do you smile?’ I asked. β€˜It’s the way you raise your eyebrow at me. That dubious, rather imperious look. Do you know who you look like when you do that?’ β€˜No. Who?’ β€˜You look like Matthew Rose Sorensen. Like photos of him that I’ve seen.’ β€˜How do you know that there are more than seventy people?’ I asked. β€˜Have you counted them yourself?’ β€˜No, but I’m fairly sure,’ she said. β€˜It’s not always a pleasant world, the other world. There’s a lot of sadness.’ She paused. β€˜A lot of sadness,’ she said again. β€˜It’s not like here.’ She sighed. β€˜I need you to understand something. Whether you come back with me or not, it’s up to you. Ketterley tricked you. He kept you here with lies and deceit. I don’t want to trick you. You must only come if you want to.’ β€˜And if I stay here will you come back and visit me?’ I said. β€˜Of course,’ she said. Other
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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And where were you?’ he asks. β€˜While you were gone?’ β€˜I was in a house with many rooms. The sea sweeps through the house. Sometimes it swept over me, but always I was saved.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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What I’m trying to get at,’ he says, β€˜is whether Dr Ketterley persuaded you to go anywhere. Whether he kept you anywhere against your will. Whether you were free to come and go.’ β€˜Yes. I was free. I came and went. I did not remain in one place. I walked for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of kilometres.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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I leave entry for the first day of the tenth month in the year the albatross came to the south-western halls This morning I fetched the small cardboard box with the word AQUARIUM and the picture of an octopus on it. It is the box that originally contained the shoes Dr Ketterley gave me. When Dr Ketterley told me to hide Myself from 16, I took the ornaments out of my hair and placed them in the box. But now, wanting to look my best when I enter the New World, I spent two or three hours putting them back in, all the pretty things that I have found or made: seashells, coral beads, pearls, tiny pebbles and interesting fishbones. When Raphael arrived, she seemed rather astonished at my pleasant appearance. I took my messenger bag with all my Journals and my favourite pens and we walked towards the two Minotaurs in the South-Eastern Corner. The shadows between them shimmered slightly. The shadows suggested the shape of a corridor or alleyway with dim walls and, at the end of it, lights, flashes of moving colour that my eye could not interpret. I took one last look at the Eternal House. I shivered. Raphael took my hand. Then, together, we walked into the corridor.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
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When she came out onto the gallery her hair was on fire. But, you know, she’s Raphael. I doubt she even noticed. The people down below had to shout at her to put the fire out. She sat down with Pinny Wheeller and she got him to stop throwing flaming newspaper everywhere and she got him to come down. Pretty brave, don’t you think?’ β€˜Braver than you think. She doesn’t like heights.’ β€˜She doesn’t?’ β€˜They make her uncomfortable.’ β€˜That wouldn’t stop her,’ he says. β€˜No.’ β€˜Thank God, she didn’t have to do any of that with you. I mean she didn’t have to walk through fire or whatever. She just went to the seaside. That’s what I heard anyway – that she found you at the seaside.’ β€˜Yes. I was at the side of the sea.’ β€˜A lot of missing people turn up at seaside places,’ he muses. β€˜It’s the sea, I suppose. It has a soothing effect.’ β€˜It certainly did on me,’ I say. He smiles cheerfully at me. β€˜Excellent,’ he says.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
am the Beloved Child of the House,’ I said.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
A pale owl glided out of the First Eastern Hall into the First Vestibule. It settled on a Statue high up on the Southern Wall where it gleamed whitely in the Dimness. I have seen owls portrayed in marble. Many Statues incorporate them. But I had never seen their living counterpart until now. Its appearance was, I felt sure, connected with the coming of Raphael and the departure of Dr Ketterley; it was as though a principle of Death had been replaced with a principle of Life. Things, I thought, were speeding up.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
Raphael left, disappearing into the Shadowy Space between the two Minotaurs in the South-Eastern Corner of the Vestibule.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
A wave of sadness and helplessness washed over me. I wanted to say that the People of the Alcove had not been murdered by Arne-Sayles (though I have no evidence to support that assertion and the probability is that at least one of them was). Mostly I wanted Raphael to come away from them so that I could stop thinking of them the way she thought of them – as murdered – and go back to thinking of them the way I always had before – as good, and noble, and peaceful.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
Late in the afternoon we returned to the First Vestibule. Just before we parted Raphael said, β€˜I love the quiet here. No people!’ She said the last part as if it were the greatest advantage of all. β€˜Don’t you like the people in your own Halls?’ I asked, puzzled. β€˜I like them,’ she said, with no very great enthusiasm. β€˜Mostly I like them. Some of them. I don’t always get them. They don’t always get me.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
Many other things were delivered to me out of storage, the most important being Matthew Rose Sorensen’s missing journals. They cover the period from June 2000 (when he was an undergraduate) until December 2011. As for the rest of his possessions, I am getting rid of most of them. Piranesi cannot bear to have so many possessions. I do not need this! is his constant refrain. Piranesi is always with me, but of Rose Sorensen I have only hints and shadows. I piece him together out of the objects he has left behind, from what is said about him by other people and, of course, from his journals. Without the journals I would be all at sea. I remember how this world works – more or less. I remember what Manchester is and what the police are and how to use a smartphone. I can pay for things with money – though I still find the process strange and artificial. Piranesi has a strong dislike of money. Piranesi wants to say: But I need the thing you have, so why don’t you just give it to me? And then when I have something you need, I will just give it to you. This would be a simpler system and much better! But I, who am not Piranesi – or at least not only him – realise that this probably wouldn’t go down too well. I have decided to write a book about Laurence Arne-Sayles. It is something that Matthew Rose Sorensen wanted to do and something that I want to do. After all, who knows Arne-Sayles’s work better than me? Raphael has shown me what Laurence Arne-Sayles taught her: how to find the path to the labyrinth and how to find the path out again. I can come and go as I please. Last week I took a train to Manchester. I took a bus to Miles Platting. I walked through a bleak autumn landscape to a flat in a tower block. The door was answered by a thin, ravaged-looking man who smelt strongly of cigarettes. β€˜Are you James Ritter?’ I asked. He agreed that he was. β€˜I’ve come to take you back,’ I said. I led him through the shadowy corridor and when the noble minotaurs of the first vestibule rose up around us, he started to cry, not for fear, but for happiness. He went immediately and sat under the great marble sweep of the staircase; the place where he used to sleep. He closed his eyes and listened to the sounds of the tides. When it was time to leave, he begged me to let him stay, but I refused. β€˜You don’t know how to feed yourself,’ I told him. β€˜You never learnt. You would die here unless I fed you – and I can’t take on that responsibility. But I’ll bring you back here whenever you want. And if ever I decide to come back for good, I promise I will bring you with me.’ The
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
I estimate that in six months’ time the bones will be white and clean. I will gather them up and take them to the empty niche in the third north-western hall. I will place Valentine Ketterley next to the biscuit-box man. In the middle I will place the long bones tied together with twine. On the right I will place the skull. On the left I will place a box containing all the small bones.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
Matthew Rose Sorensen’s mother and father and sisters and friends all ask me where I have been. I tell them what I told Jamie Askill: that I was in a house with many rooms; that the sea sweeps through the house; and that sometimes it swept over me, but always I was saved. Matthew Rose Sorensen’s mother and father and sisters and friends tell each other that this is a description of a mental breakdown seen from the inside; an explanation they find reasonable, perhaps even reassuring. They have Matthew Rose Sorensen back – or so they believe. A man with his face and voice and gestures moves about the world, and that is enough for them. I no longer look like Piranesi. There are no coral beads or fishbones in my hair. My hair is clean and cut and styled. I am clean-shaven. I wear the clothes that were brought to me out of the storage in which Matthew Rose Sorensen’s sisters had placed them. Rose Sorensen had a great number of clothes, all meticulously cared for. He had more than a dozen suits (which I find surprising considering that his income was not large). This love of clothes was something he shared with Piranesi. Piranesi frequently wrote about Dr Ketterley’s clothes in his journal and lamented the contrast with his own ragged garments. This, I suppose, is where I differ from both of them – from Matthew Rose Sorensen and Piranesi; I find I do not care greatly about clothes.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
Piranesi. It is what he calls me. Which is strange because as far as I can remember it is not my name.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
I have known for many years that The Other does not revere the House in the same way I do, but it still shocks me when he talks like this. How can a man as intelligent as him say there is nothing alive in this House?
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
a Revelation. What I mean by this is that I knew it to be true before I understood why or what steps had led me there.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
purchases that his friends all agree were completely out of character: he had never shown any inclination to be waterborne before.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
Mystery of the people connected to Arne-Sayles who disappeared: Maurizio Giussani, Stanley Ovenden, Sylvia D’Agostino. (This is a strong pull for readers and therefore a definite pro. Unless I disappear myself, in which case, con.)
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
The way the ancient perceived the world was the way the world truly was. This gave them extraordinary influence and power. Reality was not only capable of taking part in a dialogue - intellegible and articulate - it was also persuadable.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
My first great insight happened when I realised how much humankind had lost. Once, men and women were able to turn themselves into eagles and fly immense distances. They communed with rivers and mountains and received wisdom from them. They felt the turning of stars inside their own minds. My contemporaries did not understand this. They were all enamoured with the idea of progress and believed that whatever was new must be superior to what was old. As if merit was a function of chronology! But it seemed to me that the wisdom of the ancients could not have simply vanished. Nothing simply vanishes. It's not actually possible. I pictured it as a sort of energy flowing out of the world and I thought this energy must be going somewhere. That was when I realised that there must be other places, other worlds. And so I set myself to find them.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
I am an anamnesiologist. I study what has been forgotten.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
2. If you are one of my own Dead (and if your Spirit passes through this Vestibule and reads this paper) then I hope you already know thatΒ I visit your Niche or Plinth regularly to talk with you and bring you offerings of food and drink. 3. If you are dead – but not one of my own Dead – then please knowΒ that I travel far and wide in the World. If ever I find your remains I will bring you offerings of food and drink. If it seems to me that no one living is caring for you then I will gather up your bones and bring them to my own Halls. I will put you in good order and lay you with my own Dead. Then you will not be alone.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
Birds are not difficult to understand. Their behaviour tells me what they are thinking. Generally it runs along the lines of: Is this food? Is this? What about this? This might be food. I am almost certain that this is. Or occasionally: It is raining. I do not like it. While ample for a brief neighbourly
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
The only part of my existence in which I experience any sense of fragmentation is in that last strange conversation with the Other. And so I have to ask Myself: whose memory is at fault? Mine or his? Might he in fact be remembering conversations that never happened? Two memories. Two bright minds which remember past events differently. It is an awkward situation. There exists no third person to say which of us is correct. (If only the Sixteenth Person were here!) As for the Other's claim that I lose time and muddle days, I do not see how this can possibly be true, I invented the calendar I use, so how could it get 'out of sync' as he put it? There is nothing for it to get out of sync with.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
Two days ago I gathered together supplies for the journey: food, blankets, a small saucepan in which to heat water and some rags.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
I opened it. At first sight it appeared to contain nothing except thin white paper, but when I lifted the paper I found a pair of shoes. They were made of canvas of a blue-green colour that reminded me of the Tides of the Southern Halls. The rubber soles were thick and white and they had white laces. I removed them from the box and put them on. They fitted perfectly. I tried walking about in them. My feet felt beautifully cushioned and bouncible. All day long I have been running and dancing for the sheer pleasure of feeling my feet in their new shoes. β€˜Look!’ I said to the crows in the First Northern Hall when they flew down from the High Statues to see what I was doing, β€˜I have new shoes!’ But the crows only cawed and flew back to their perches.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
I owe so much to the Other’s generosity. Without him I would not sleep snug and warm in my sleeping bag in Winter. I would not have notebooks in which to record my thoughts. That being said, it occurs to me to wonder why it is that the House gives a greater variety of objects to the Other than to me, providing him with sleeping bags, shoes, plastic bowls, cheese sandwiches, notebooks, slices of Christmas cake etc., etc., whereas me it mostly gives fish. I think perhaps it is because the Other is not as skilled in taking care of himself as I am. He does not know how to fish. He never (as far as I know) gathers seaweed, dries it and stores it to make fires or a tasty snack; he does not cure fish skins and make leather out of them (which is useful for many things). If the House did not provide all these things for him, it is quite possible that he would die. Or else (which is more likely) I would have to devote a great deal of my time to caring for him.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
Raphael nodded slowly. β€˜That’s OK,’ she said. β€˜There’s plenty of time.’ She put out her hand and rather awkwardly – but also gently – put her hand on my shoulder. Instantly, and to my huge embarrassment, I started crying. Great creaking sobs rose up in my chest and tears sprouted from my eyes. I did not think that it was me who was crying; it was Matthew Rose Sorensen crying through my eyes. It lasted for a long time until it tailed off into braying, hiccupping gulps for Air.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
Timey-Wimey: Steven Moffat, Blink and J. W. Dunne’s theories of Time’,
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
It is not his fault that he does not see things the way I do.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
while he was in hospital he became very agitated, saying that he needed to go back to the minotaurs because the minotaurs would have his dinner.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
I paused and examined Myself for signs of imminent madness or tendencies to self-destruction. Finding none, I read further.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
Sir, please do not do that,’ I said. β€˜The Other says that 16 is a malevolent person.’ β€˜Malevolent? I wouldn’t say so. No more than most people.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
I thought that I was going to die; or else that I would be swept away to Unknown Halls, far from the rush and thrum of Familiar Tides. I clung on.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
Yet, at the same time, I can see that it is in the nature of men to prefer one thing to another, to find one thing more meaningful than another.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
Its surface repelled Water, like something meant to live in Air.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
And so I have to ask Myself: whose memory is at fault? Mine or his? Might he in fact be remembering conversations that never happened?
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
Two memories. Two bright minds which remember past events differently. It is an awkward situation. There exists no third person to say which of us is correct.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
I remembered how Raphael had wondered which of the People of the Alcove had been murdered and how the simple fact of her posing the question had made the whole World seem a darker, sadder Place. Perhaps that is what it is like being with other people. Perhaps even people you like and admire immensely can make you see the World in ways you would rather not. Perhaps that is what Raphael means.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
tell them what I told Jamie Askill: that I was in a house with many rooms; that the sea sweeps through the house; and that sometimes it swept over me, but always I was saved. Matthew Rose Sorensen’s mother and father and sisters and friends tell each other that this is a description of a mental breakdown seen from the inside; an explanation they find reasonable,
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
I rained every time I moved.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
But I haven’t got his mind and I haven’t got his memories. I don’t mean that he’s not here. He is here.’ I touched my breast. β€˜But I think he’s asleep. He’s fine. You mustn’t worry about him.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
…quizΓ‘s la estatua que mΓ‘s me gusta, se encuentra en una puerta entre la quinta y la cuarta sala del noroeste. Es la Estatua de un Fauno, una criatura mitad hombre y mitad cabra, con una cabeza de exuberantes rizos. SonrΓ­e ligeramente y se lleva el dedo Γ­ndice a los labios. Siempre he tenido la impresiΓ³n de que querΓ­a decirme algo o tal vez advertirme de algo: Β‘Silencio! parece decir. Β‘Ten cuidado!
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
Ketterley shrugged. β€˜A vision of cosmic grandeur, I suppose. A symbol of the mingled glory and horror of existence. No one gets out alive.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
He stood motionless for a long moment. I had told him to reflect on his wickedness. Was that what he was doing? Suddenly he knelt and began to write rapidly. No one has ever written to me before.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
do not understand why this sentence is in the past tense. The World still speaks to me every day.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
Do you trust the House? I ask Myself. Yes, I answer Myself. And if the House has made you forget, then it has done so for good reason. But I do not understand the reason. It does not matter that you do not understand the reason. You are the Beloved Child of the House. Be comforted. And I am comforted.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
In my mind are all the tides, their seasons, their ebbs and their flows. In my mind are all the halls, the endless procession of them, the intricate pathways. When this world becomes too much for me, when I grow tired of the noise and the dirt and the people, I close my eyes and I name a particular vestibule to myself; then I name a hall. I imagine I am walking the path from the vestibule to the hall. I note with precision the doors I must pass through, the rights and lefts that I must take, the statues on the walls that I must pass.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
We lapsed into silence again. There seemed nothing more to say. I was shocked by his description of 16’s wickedness. To be opposed to Reason itself!
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
(Question: is it possible to knit socks from seaweed? Doubtful.)
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
If ever I find your remains I will bring you offerings of food and drink. If it seems to me that no one living is caring for you then I will gather up your bones and bring them to my own Halls. I will put you in good order and lay you with my own Dead. Then you will not be alone.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
I have never seen a live monkey in the House.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
Since the World began it is certain that there have existed fifteen people.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
His mouth was long and mobile, red and oddly wet.
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
β€œ
They were all enamoured with the idea of progress and believed that whatever was new must be superior to what was old. As if merit was a function of chronology!
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Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)