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Melmoth

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3.48  ·  Rating details ·  8,685 ratings  ·  1,506 reviews
For centuries, the mysterious dark-robed figure has roamed the globe, searching for those whose complicity and cowardice have fed into the rapids of history’s darkest waters-and now, in Sarah Perry’s breathtaking follow-up to The Essex Serpent, it is heading in our direction.

It has been years since Helen Franklin left England. In Prague, working as a translator, she has fo
...more
Audiobook, 245 pages
Published October 16th 2018 by HarperAudio
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Julia O'Connell I found the letters and flashbacks much more interesting than the present-day story where all Helen does is wander around thinking vaguely about her "…moreI found the letters and flashbacks much more interesting than the present-day story where all Helen does is wander around thinking vaguely about her "sin." For me, the story did pick up in the latter half, once we finally get the flashback to Helen's past (although I found her story a little underwhelming after it had been built up so much). But yeah, it took a while to get there.(less)
Power Pasta No need to read Essex Serpent first. I've read both and both are amazing. Not linked except by brilliant writing. I'll read anything that she writes!!

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Amalia Gavea
‘’Look! It is winter in Prague: night is rising in the mother of cities and over her thousand spires. Look down at the darkness around your feet, in all the lanes and alleys, as if it were a soft black dust; look at the stone apostles on the old Charles Bridge, and at all the blue-eyed jackdaws on the shoulders of St John of Nepomuk! Look! She is coming over the bridge, head bent down to the whitening cobblestones.’’

A manuscript that finds its way into Helen’s hands. Helen. A woman that is i
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Tammy
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Using the architecture of the Victorian Gothic novel, Perry weaves a tale that keeps one spellbound. Through letters, diaries and narrative, we are privy to encounters with a soul damned to walk the earth for eternity and bear witness to the secret evil we commit and the repercussions of our actions. Look closely! Inquisitive Jackdaws caw their questions, seed pearls fall like tears, feathers hint at movement from this world to the next and singing signals an imminent arrival. Highly literary, t ...more
Hannah Greendale
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic, literary
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.



A brooding atmosphere shrouded in mystery, enfolded with dark lore and stitched together with secrets. Melmoth speaks to our most shameful transgressions and the longing for redemption; it whispers and taunts and beckons with a crooked finger, drawing its audience on puppet strings to the final page where a haunting conclusion awaits.

Look! A jackdaw - blue-eyed and black-winged - sits at the window, pec
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mark monday
Ugh, argh! I tried, I really tried. Stopped halfway through when I remembered I wasn't going to live forever, unlike poor Melmoth.

The author's wonderful prior book, The Essex Serpent, was one of my recent favorites. I was prepared to love this one. Certainly the writing remains quite beautiful; Sarah Perry has talent to burn. And burn it up she does.

First complaint, the lesser one, is that the title character in question held very little interest, and wasn't remotely intimidating or fearful or
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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader by: Tammy
5 original, stand-out stars to Melmoth! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Although Melmoth is set in the present, it has a dark, foreboding Gothic feel, not unlike an 18th century work. Set in Prague, we meet Helen Franklin, an English translator with a mysterious past. She carries tremendous guilt with her.

Helen’s friend Karel finds a file holding letters from different periods of time. There are common themes of guilt within all these entries. There is a warning, too…Melmoth the Witness travels through time to
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Debra
Sep 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
"I wonder, when God permitted us to fall, if He knew we'd fall so far."

Helen Franklin is an English woman living in Prague. She has made a home for herself and has a small group of friends. One evening her friend, Karel, shows her a letter he discovered in a library. The letter is a confession of sorts and introduces the reader to Melmoth the Witness, a woman who roams the globe in loneliness, looking for those who have done wrong asking them to join her in damnation. She is an interesting figur
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Umut Rados
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
For full review, please visit my blog: https://umutreviews.wordpress.com/201...
I have a lot of feelings for this book. It’s one of those that makes you think about the writer, because you’re in awe of what they’re capable of. The sophistication, elegance and somehow the smell of history is seeping through Perry’s pages, and I LOVE it.
The story is set in Prague at contemporary times, though it has an 18th Century gothic feel to it. It’s definitely scary at times and often I found myself holding m
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Katie Long
Sarah Perry, writing in the style of 19th century gothic classics, seems like the sort of author who I would love, so I was really excited to win this through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program. Unfortunately, like The Essex Serpent, this one fell short for me. There is much needless repetition, (all of those Jackdaws! 🙄) and the attempt to create atmosphere and suspense is so ham handed, all of the intended effect is lost. I think the bottom line here is, if you are in the mood for 19th cent ...more
Gumble's Yard
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
This is Sarah Perry’s first book since the much heralded “The Essex Serpent”. That book followed on from her debut novel “After Me Comes the Flood” and continued her style of writing a modern, water-based take on the English Gothic tradition.

This her third book – continues her Gothic tradition as it is an explicit reimagining of the relatively little known Gothic novel – Melmoth the Wanderer (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melmoth...) in which the titular character sells his soul for an additiona
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Paul Bryant
Mar 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned, novels
Melmoth the Wanderer meets Winnie the Pooh

It is I, Melmoth, known as Melmotka, wanderer of the centuries of man’s sufferings. My child, my Winnie, whom I have longed for, from whom my eyes have never wandered, at last I am come, as you knew I must, I who have watched over you from the hour of your birth until now, that you may be delivered from torment! I, Melmoth!

"Would you like some honey?" Said Winnie, known as The Pooh. "I found it, you see, so now I am… eating it. It is nice. You could have
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Jenna
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Skeleton Crow GIF - Skeleton Crow Death GIFs

For some reason, I had thought this would be a horror story and wasn't sure why I'd added it to my TBR list. Still, since it was on there, I figured there was a reason and so I should read it. I discovered that it's not horror, though it does show the horrors that humans heap upon our fellow human beings when we see them as "other". It is written as a gothic story with the character of Melmoth offering the prospect of redemption.

Melmoth is a mysterious woman, cloaked in black robes and said to
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Beverly
Jul 07, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Phrynne
Jan 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-2019
I enjoyed Perry's earlier book The Essex Serpent very much so maybe I approached Melmoth with too high an expectation and sadly it fell a little short. No criticism of the writing of course which is perfectly beautiful. Just something missing in the overall story itself.

Melmoth is a ghostly, nightmarish, folk tale figure who supposedly steals away people who have done wrong. In the course of the book we meet a number of these wrong doers and hear their stories until finally it is the turn of the
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Marialyce
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
3.5 accusatory stars
My reviews can be found here: http://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpress...

Monsters are not always the ones hidden in your closet or under your bed. They can be as real as your mind and heart can imagine and in the book Melmoth, we confront a monster of old folklore, a monster that perhaps dwells in each of us, in our conscience and mind, one that follows us wherever we go.
Helen Franklin is about to meet a monster of old folklore. She embarks on a journey of a Gothic nature from
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Renee Godding
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: magical-realism
3.5/5 stars

Set against the darkly atmospheric décor of the city of Prague is the story of a woman, haunted by guilt and loneliness.

Helen Franklin is an English translator, who happens upon a mysterious file, containing letters and diary entries from different periods of history. Not only do all of them share themes of guilt, exile and redemption, they also share the presence of an ominous creature, old as the numbering of days and straight from the depths of occult folklore: Melmoth the Witne
...more
Blair
Sarah Perry's third novel takes the structure, and many of the stylistic flourishes, of 18th-century gothic fiction and wraps them around a mostly modern story which incorporates narratives set in 17th-century Britain, early 20th-century Turkey and WWII-era Europe. The central, connecting tale takes place in present-day Prague, where dowdy translator Helen Franklin – self-condemned to a frugal and uncomfortable life for reasons initially unknown to the reader – finds herself unwillingly thrust i ...more
Peter Boyle
Nov 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Hmmm how to describe Melmoth? It is a book of stories within stories, that begins in the present day but contains flashbacks to decades and centuries ago. It is a ghost story I suppose, though not the kind you might be used to reading. I had no idea what was happening in the opening pages but I'm glad that I read on.

We begin among the cobbled streets of snowy Prague. Helen Franklin is the main character, an unassuming British translator in her 40s, living in an unremarkable life. One evening she
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Lisa
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
[3.9] Perry envelopes the reader in a dark, sensuous and timeless Prague. She uses Melmoth, a mythical creature, as a vehicle for dealing with various characters' transgressions, punishment and ultimate redemption. She makes it work, although it felt heavy handed at times. This novel didn't entrance me like "The Essex Serpent" but I liked its originality it and kept me turning the pages.
Jennifer
I'm kind of fascinated by how much this book doesn't work. Review in another outlet coming soon.
Eric Anderson
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
There’s something so invitingly intoxicating about the way Sarah Perry blends the tone of classic Victorian literature with a modern sensibility. Her previous novel “The Essex Serpent” was actually set in the Victorian era and new novel “Melmoth” is set roughly in present-day Prague. But they both employ a self-conscious authorial control over the narrative that contemplates many moral questions while (most importantly) telling a riveting gothic-inflected story at the same time.

“Melmoth” centre
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Faith
“Dear heart, I have watched you so long.... I was there when you lay awake in the dark and wondered who stood at the foot of your bed!...Oh, and I saw what you did when you shouldn’t have done it — I know what thoughts plague you most, when you cannot keep hold of your mind — I know what you cannot confess not even alone, when all the doors are bolted against your family and friends!” The clue that I was not the right audience for this book is that those lines at the climax of the book reminded ...more
Rebecca
I got a head start on a month of spooky reading with Sarah Perry’s new Gothic tale. It seems to have been equally inspired by Charles Robert Maturin’s 1820 novel Melmoth the Wanderer and by Perry’s time in Prague as a UNESCO World City of Literature Writer in Residence. The action opens in Prague in 2016 as Helen Franklin, a translator, runs into her distressed friend Dr. Karel Pražan one December night. An aged fellow scholar, Josef Hoffman, has been found dead in the National Library, where He ...more
Dannii Elle
"Oh, my friend, won't you take my hand? I've been so lonely!"

Helen Franklin is a quiet and unassuming women, but this placid exterior is a self-imposed one she uses as a sort of self-inflicted purgatory to resides inside of. This purgatory allows her a measure of escape from the past mistakes that haunt her but these long-buried secrets prove never far from the surface when a mysterious manuscript appears and demands Helen to confront not only the horrors of her own past, but also of history's.

T
...more
Ova - Excuse My Reading
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: out-in-2018
I need to wait on this to write a review. It was a good read, however there were untidy things in it.

I loved the overall stand of the story. We are all Melmoths. Witnessing, watching, doing nothing.

Review soon...
Emily
The best word that I have for this book is "banal." In the right hands, this could have been a horror book that featured interesting characters overcoming or succumbing to Melmoth, the cursed wanderer who is doomed to live forever and bear witness to humankind's darkest moments. But Melmoth isn't very scary, the stakes are unclear, and the characters are so awfully boring that this book is a chore. I think the characters are boring on purpose, too, which means that we're witnessing "the worst" o ...more
Eleanor
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Few, if any, contemporary novelists are doing as much as Sarah Perry is to make Calvinist thought sexy again. (There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.) Her first two novels, and this one, are all suffused with a sense of the reality of sin, although that word is rarely used: perhaps more in Melmoth than elsewhere. And yet the book is also a Gothic romp; it is disturbing and serious, but it’s scattered with delightful ghost-story tropes, starting with an eminent Czech scholar who inherits s ...more
Jill
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“All my life, I’ve wanted to write a great monster — my Frankenstein or Dracula — but I wanted mine to be a woman.” That’s a sourced quote from Sarah Perry, who, in writing Melmoth, imagines a cursed female monster who wanders the earth in eternal loneliness without home or respite, always seeking out everything that’s most distressing and most wicked.

But is Melmoth real? Or is she us?

In The Essex Serpent, surely one of my favorite contemporary books of all time, Sarah Perry explored the chasm
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Lata
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: auth-f, x2019-read
An eerie story based on the legend of Melmoth, a spirit who was doomed to wander the earth on her bleeding feet, witnessing atrocities.
Helen, a British translator living in Prague, does her best to limit her connections with others, and to live in a manner that suggests she is punishing herself. She becomes unwillingly involved with the obsession of a fellow academic, who thrusts the papers of another individual on her. Helen reads the stories in the papers, which describe horrible things, and
...more
Melissa Crytzer Fry
Gothic fiction is not generally my go-to, but I found this book to be exquisitely written from the sensory details down to the interactions and dialogue between characters.

…look down at the soft darkness around your feet, in all the lanes and alleys, as if it were a soft, black dust swept there by a broom…

I think of him now as a piece of mirror hanging on a wall: empty, unless another man walked past.

Her hair was coarse and long and moved slowly as hair does under water. Her face was lovely and
...more
Amy Imogene Reads
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
This isn't one of my normal reviews.

As I write this, I'm still debating with myself about whether I should write out my thoughts on this novel - because it's not going to be a breakdown of what's in it, so much as the atmosphere that it left me in.

Melmoth was a truly hypnotic reading experience. I guess I should start by saying that I am in love with the literary landscape of Prague. Having never been to the real city, I find myself drawn to book after book featuring aspects of it, and whether
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Play Book Tag: [Fall Flurries] Melmoth by Sarah Perry - 4 stars 5 14 Oct 17, 2019 09:49AM  
Gothic Literature: Melmoth by Sarah Perry: part 3 finis! 3 17 Dec 06, 2018 02:57PM  
Gothic Literature: Melmoth by Sarah Perry: part 2 2 12 Nov 28, 2018 09:09AM  
Gothic Literature: Melmoth by Sarah Perry: Part 1 8 23 Nov 27, 2018 06:27AM  
Play Book Tag: Melmoth - Perry - 5 stars 11 37 Nov 10, 2018 07:13AM  

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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-Reside
...more

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“They made me think of my students, who are so young and look at the road ahead of them happily, having no idea that the road narrows and turns back on itself, and goes through dark places, and is covered all over with things to trip you up and break your ankles.” 2 likes
“No librarians yet at their post, the ranks of desks miserably empty, like sockets from which teeth had been pulled.” 1 likes
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