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After Me Comes the Flood
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After Me Comes the Flood

2.84  ·  Rating details ·  2,337 ratings  ·  388 reviews
Elegant, sinister, and psychologically complex, After Me Comes the Flood is the haunting debut novel by the bestselling author of The Essex Serpent and Melmoth.

On a hot summers day, John Cole decides to shut his bookshop early, and possibly forever, and drives out of London to see his brother. When his car breaks down on an isolated road, he goes looking for help and
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Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 17th 2020 by Custom House (first published June 26th 2014)
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Tanzey The Essex Serpent is a much better book, more detailed background and historic period atmosphere. The story is better built and it becomes a…moreThe Essex Serpent is a much better book, more detailed background and historic period atmosphere. The story is better built and it becomes a page-turner. All in all, a much more mature novel.(less)
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Average rating 2.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,337 ratings  ·  388 reviews


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Amalia Gavea
''What surprises me isn't that we sin, but that we manage a single good action in all of our lives.''

A strange array of people has gathered in a cottage in the marshlands. An endless heatwave and the unbearable drought create a suffocating atmosphere that gives rise to the boiling conflicts between the members of the fellowship. One of them is John Cole, an enigmatic Londoner, who has found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Who are these people? Why are they there, battling a cruel
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Leanne
This was an extremely puzzling novel that by no means lived up to its intriguing blurb...it's dry and meandering and feels much longer than its fairly slight page count. It starts off fine - it's nicely, if simply, written and the mysterious nature of the plot gives it an interesting edge. And then you realize that there's really nothing coming - there's no mystery and no backstory of any real consequence. The characters are somewhere in between likeable and unlikeable, and there's very little ...more
Kinga
Nov 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book a long time ago, so this will be a difficult review to write. I suppose I was waiting for a heatwave to hit London so I can be in the right mood to write this and a heatwave is something you will wait for for a long time in the UK. But I did spend half of this week sitting in a puddle of my own sweat, so here we are. Like the main character I feel an urge to close the shop (I dont actually have a shop) and fuck off somewhere, get lost and be found by a bunch of strangers who ...more
Kevin Ansbro
Oh dear.
Pretentious, tedious; wafer-thin characterisation; no beginning, middle or end.
Not a fan.
T.D. Whittle
As in Perry's latest book, The Essex Serpent, After Me Comes The Flood is rich with imagery both lush and ascetic, and characters who are never fully revealed, to themselves or to the reader. The plot, too, is set up as the slow uncovering of a rather sad mystery but (again like The Essex Serpent) is both more and less than one expects, and yet its denouement feels inevitable and fits the overarching narrative like a kid glove.

I've a feeling that Sarah Perry either draws readers in with her
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Blair
Review originally published at Learn This Phrase, as part of a post about this and another of my favourite books of the year, Linda Grant's Upstairs at the Party. (This book was reviewed second in the post, so the review really makes more sense in its original context.)

... Next to the expansive scope of Upstairs at the Party, the premise of Sarah Perry's debut novel, After Me Comes the Flood, seems almost the polar opposite: it takes place over just one week, and much of the action is contained
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Judy
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have just wasted another 20 minutes trying to write a review.
I read the book.
It was readable
I just can't work out the point of it.
Disappointing. But I did finish it.
Shaharazad Abuel-ealeh
I've shaken this book as hard as I can & still the minutes of my life I wasted on it won't fall out. It's such a mess that I can't begin to understand what the original intention of it might have been. Another review compared it to The Secret History. Sweet Jesus. It would be more accurate to compare a lesser-known Candace Bushnell to Pride & Prejudice. Just don't.
Liz Barnsley
I have to admit to being a little disappointed with this one. Thats not to say it is a bad book but the blurb seemed to promise something different (in my opinion) to that which it delivered. When I started I thought there was going to be some mystery, perhaps something a little odd going on, but in the end it was all rather mundane.

Having said that, I did get somewhat caught up with this eclectic bunch of characters John breaks down on his way to his brothers and seeking help in a nearby
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Paul
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sarah-perry
A slightly odd one this, somewhat short in the plot department, but very nuanced, with more going on than meets the eye. It is set in a scorching hot summer: John Cole decides to leave his bookshop and visit his brother. His car breaks down on the way and he looks for help (the setting is Norfolk). He finds a rambling old house, the inhabitants appear to know his name and to be expecting him, inviting him in and showing him to a room. This is the weakest part of the book as most people at this ...more
Neil
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Anyone who has read many of my reviews will probably have picked up that I am less interested in plot than I am in atmosphere when I am reading a book. What this book perhaps fails to deliver in plot and/or character development, it easily makes up for in atmosphere. It is a debut novel and, as such, it shows a talented writer at the beginning of her public development. I found it one of the most impressive debut novels I have read.

Its not that the plot and character development are especially
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Paul Fulcher
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Then he smiled in that old frank way I knew and said 'I won't think about it any more. I'll put it away somewhere, and won't take it out again. That's the best way.'

So we walked together across the grass, and our shadows were long and reached in front of us, and behind us the cat came slowly. We could hear Eve playing the "Maple Leaf Rag" much too fast, as Clare calling from a window upstairs, and as we walked I repeated to myself over and over, under my breath: put it away somewhere and don't
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Francesca Haig
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book absolutely astonishing. In tone it reminded me of W.G. Sebald - a beguiling mixture of clarity and strangeness. Don't be put off by the slightly slow start - soon I was unable to put this down, and read the last three-quarters in one sitting. The characters, and their relationships, are marvellously realised, and the growing sense of menace and tension is nearly unbearable. It's been a week since I finished this book, and I still can't stop thinking about it. One of my absolute ...more
Glen
Feb 03, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: firstreads, horror
I won this book in a goodreads drawing.

This is a hard book to categorize. It isn't really scary, but it has a dream like quality that reminds me of Lovecraft or Dunsinay, so I put in the horror category.

An owner of a used bookstore closes his shop and takes a drive for no discernible reason, and winds up at a house populated by a strange laughing woman.

I found the book rather odd. I wasn't sure whether it was supposed to be scary or not.
Barbara
The first few pages of the novel were promising. A man, John, who owns a bookstore with few or no customers, gets into his car one day and drives away from London. Then he has car trouble, and goes off looking for help. I pushed my way through this book because it was a monthly choice of one my GR groups, and I had bought it. I loved The Essex Serpent and I must say that Perry has grown tremendously as a writer since her first novel. Some readers loved this novel and took to the meandering, and ...more
Faye
Read: August 2019
Rating: 1/5 stars
I found this to be such a disappointment after reading The Essex Serpent, which I thought was excellent. I struggled with the lack of plot, lack of likeable or relatable characters and the writing style - switching from first to third person perspective and back again.
In the end I abandoned this book at 58% so I cannot comment on whether the plot improved in the second half but I dont plan on finishing it to find out!
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Rebecca
(1.5) Not quite an allegory, this still suffers from that genres pitfalls, such as one-dimensional characters. Perry has been open about her own strict religious background. Like her character Elijah, a former preacher who lost his faith, she grew up on a diet of Victorian hymns and The Pilgrims Progress. Her deep familiarity with Christian texts comes through in the often liturgical language. She offers striking commentary on post-Christian culture and the enduring importance of religious ...more
Thomas Hale
From its initial synopsis, this book had a lot of potential. A man walks out on his life, gets lost in the woods, ends up stumbling into a seemingly-abandoned mansion. But when he gets there, he learns that the house's inhabitants have been expecting him, know his name, and have a room set up just for him. The house and its gaggle of misfits are full of mysteries and idiosyncracies, and there are hints of something sinister going on under the surface, waiting to be uncovered...

...Except they're
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Erin
Nov 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-review
ARC for review.

"'But it need not mean anything, I think - it's not necessary to understand everything.'"

This rather sums up my feelings about this lovely little book - it's quite hard to get a handle on what is happening, at first, (view spoiler) and by the time things become a bit more clear I was completely caught up in the dreamlike quality of the narrative which reminded me a bit of Fowles's wonderful
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Stephen Goldenberg
A disappointing novel considering the rave reviews it has.received. I couldn't relate to any of the characters, especially the main one. Their back stories were far too faintly sketched in. The narrative lacked any tension and the claustrophobic enclosed atmosphere was effectively described but not totally convincing.
Ella
Nov 12, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
After picking this up off the best sellers shelf and reading the intriguing blurb, I had very high hopes for this books. Two months after starting it, however, I am extremely disappointed. The main problem for me was the fact that nothing actually happens in the entire 200 pages of it! The whole thing is just a string of uninteresting and unrelated events that occur once the main character, John, stumbles across a little cottage on the edge if a forrest. John soon comes to realise that the ...more
Chris
Dec 17, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The reviews of this book on Goodreads are generally negative, complaining about the lack of a traditional plot or the unravelling and explanation of a mystery.
They miss the point.
What I enjoyed about this first novel from Sarah Perry is her ability to describe the intricate nuances of relationships and conversation.
The first half of the book is intriguing and, as the light of understanding dawns, the reader is able to see each character in a new light.
This isn't entertainment but it is beautiful
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Nicola
Jul 21, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There was a distinct dreamlike quality to this book, yet you could feel the tension building. Some wonderful writing and quite atmospheric. Yet, for all that, I can't quite shake the feeling that I was reading to get to the end
Becky
This starts off well but quickly turns meh...... I think the general theme is loss of faith but it is testamony to how meh the whole book is that this conclusion is merely speculative. The blurb is interesting, but is possibly talking about another book. Not great.
Laura
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: giveaway-wins
Sooo...its a bad sign when you dread picking a book back up and when you have to reward yourself just for finishing it. Mine was: okay Laura, if you finish this book in the next 3 days you can go buy two new books. Then, 3 days later: If you finish this at all, one book. I pride myself on ever having DNFd two books and my determination to keep that number the same was the only thing that got me through this meandering, plotless, sleep inducing (even for the worst insomniac) book. Im bummed as I ...more
Kirsty
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The intriguing premise of Sarah Perry's After Me Comes the Flood is as follows: 'What if you walked out of your life only to find another one was already waiting for you?' Heralded 'elegant, gently sinister and psychologically complex', the novel holds instant appeal for fans of books like Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale, Susan Hill's The Woman in Black, and of authors such as Sarah Waters.

The protagonist of the piece is John Cole, a lonely man who decides to leave his life behind him
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Abbie | ab_reads
Considering the low Goodreads rating (although really, 2.91 is not that far away from a 3!), Im quite happy to report that this book wasnt the shit show I was expecting 😂 I loved the constant undertone of unease and the oppressive atmosphere as we wait for the storm to hit. I also enjoy it when a book features a cast of seemingly random characters and we get to see how they all came to fit together in their own dysfunctional way. It started to lose its tightness towards the end, and its not that ...more
Susan
Dec 08, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Cole leads a lonely life spending his time between his flat and the bookshop he inherited from his father. His brother lives in Norfolk, with his wife and children, but John only visits at Christmas. Until one day he simply decides to leave, with the intention of paying his brother an unexpected visit, but his car breaks down and he finds himself stranded in the darkness. Wandering in the evening, he comes across a house where, to his surprise, a girl welcomes him by name.

Without really
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David
Jul 20, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british
I'm in two minds about 'After Me Comes the Flood'. It tells the story of bookseller John Cole, who a month into a severe drought shuts up his London bookshop and heads to the Norfolk coast to stay with his brother. Near Thetford forest his car overheats and he is forced to go and look for help. What he finds is a house where the occupants all know his name and seem to be expecting him. The story takes place over the course of one week and is compellingly written - the atmosphere is nicely ...more
John Levon
I'd be pretty annoyed with the blurb writers if I were the author, as the depiction of this novel as a curious mystery story is totally misleading. In fact, the initial oddity is explained away near the top of the book, and we are left with a rather slight, atmospheric book about a group of people thrown together in an out of the way environment.

There's a rather austere tone to the writing, like an Ishiguro book, and the mood-setting is done well, but ultimately it all gets a little tedious.
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Goodreads Ireland: June 2018: After Me...Spoiler Thread 6 18 Jun 25, 2018 05:43AM  
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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
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“And there are days I forget myself, because my eyes are the only ones that don't see me - I look out and see beauty and think I take part in it then remember I am so different I might as well be a dog in the street, and I have never been desired, and it is beyond me to imagine it...and I'll never tell him, even though I don't want anything in return, because what's really cruel is that no-one for a moment would believe that a woman like me could fall in love like everybody else.” 1 likes
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