Book Reviews, writing

Book Review : Melmoth by Sarah Perry

Title : Melmoth

Author : Sarah Perry

Publisher : Serpent’s Tail / Hachette

Pages : 245

ISBN : 9780062856432

Story :

It has been years since Helen Franklin left England. In Prague, working as a translator, she has found a home of sorts—or, at least, refuge. That changes when her friend Karel discovers a mysterious letter in the library, a strange confession and a curious warning that speaks of Melmoth the Witness, a dark legend found in obscure fairy tales and antique village lore. As such superstition has it, Melmoth travels through the ages, dooming those she persuades to join her to a damnation of timeless, itinerant solitude. To Helen it all seems the stuff of unenlightened fantasy.
But, unaware, as she wanders the cobblestone streets Helen is being watched. And then Karel disappears

Review :

I was anxious and a little too excited to read Melmoth by Sarah Perry. This novel raised about a lot of controversies around itself where readers either loved it to the core or hated it to the guts. I was eager to find out which side would I belong to. So come, let’s take a look at what this book is all about.

Melmoth. Apparently just a name, until you find out all about the real legend behind it. A woman who is destined to walk alone on the face of the Earth ever until the destruction of humanity. Lonely, beguile and desperate for company, Melmoth seeks out those who are steeped in guilt and remorse. Once in a while can one feel her condescending gaze on the back of their bare neck, feeling their hair raised upright against the skin. Spooky and mysterious, I absolutely loved how the author built a brilliant premise for Melmoth’s spectre.

Helen Franklin is a woman living in bleak emptiness. With fragments from her past incessantly gnawing at her life, she has been living in eternal self peril without a fuss. That is until she learns about Melmoth. Helen is a character that one can easily get used to. I did not find it hard to relate to her forebodings. It’s like you’re there with her.

The author has beautifully portrayed the historical city of Prague. The gothic ambience emanated ruefully with just a mere mention of it. What I liked the most though is the embodiment of a story within a story. It is Helen you are reading about and the very next moment it is her friend Karel Prazan who comes into the picture and it is about him that we learn. But wait no, there comes another story, of Joseph Hoffman and so you see. Casting a haunting spell around herself, you see Melmoth in her spree. Her presence being undeniable and daunting.

This novel worked wonders for me. After Edgar Allan Poe, I think I can finally acknowledge another author in the genre of gothic fiction. Sarah Perry’s writing is almost poetic, and quite direct, unlike any style that I have ever indulged in. And I guess now it’s pretty clear which side of the tug of war do I belong to! This stunning work of literature needs to be savoured little by little if one wants to be acquainted with it fair and square. Pacify it with your undivided attention and it will bewilder you with its latent glory. Melmoth deserves 5 out of 5 Stars. It is a tale woven passionately, of the precarious folly of the human mind haunted by the ancient yet familiar curse of imperishable repentance and misery.





I earnestly thank the publisher for a copy!




Find the book on :






About the Author :

Sarah Perry was born in Essex in 1979, and was raised as a Strict Baptist. Having studied English at Anglia Ruskin University she worked as a civil servant before studying for an MA in Creative Writing and a PhD in Creative Writing and the Gothic at Royal Holloway, University of London. In 2004 she won the Spectator’s Shiva Naipaul Award for travel writing.
In January 2013 she was Writer-in-Residence at Gladstone’s Library. Here she completed the final draft of her first novel, After Me Comes the Flood , which was published by Serpent’s Tail in June 2014 to international critical acclaim. It won the East Anglian Book of the Year Award 2014, and was longlisted for the 2014 Guardian First Book Award and nominated for the 2014 Folio Prize. In January and February 2016 Sarah was the UNESCO City of Literature Writer-in-Residence in Prague.
Her second novel, The Essex Serpent , was published by Serpent’s Tail in May 2016. It was a number one bestseller in hardback, and was named Waterstones Book of the Year 2016. It was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2017, and was longlisted for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction 2017, the Wellcome Book Prize, the International Dylan Thomas Prize, and the New Angle Prize for Literature. It was broadcast on Radio 4 as a Book at Bedtime in April 2017, is being translated into eleven languages, and has been chosen for the Richard and Judy Summer Book Club 2017.
Sarah has spoken at a number of institutions including Gladstone’s Library, the Centre of Theological Inquiry at Princeton, and the Anglo-American University in Prague, on subjects including theology, the history and status of friendship in literature, the Gothic, and Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Her essays have been published in the Guardian and the Spectator, and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. She reviews fiction for the Guardian and the Financial Times.
She currently lives in Norwich, where she is completing her third novel.





Review by ©TheGirlOnTheOnGo


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