A Novel

Book - 2018
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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. . .
Publisher: New York, NY : Custom House, 2018.
Edition: First U.S. edition.
ISBN: 9780062856395
Characteristics: 271 pages ; 22 cm.


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Jun 10, 2019

To me, nothing like The Essex Serpent, which I really enjoyed. This book didn't really go anywhere or have much of a plot line. Perry's writing is always lovely but the overall story was a disappointment to me.

liljables Feb 06, 2019

Sarah Perry's Historical Fiction novel, The Essex Serpent, was one of my favourite books of 2017. I don't read much Historical Fiction, but I loved the premise of pitting logic against religion against superstition, told from the perspective of a bad-ass female character. So, I had to grab her newest novel, Melmoth, when it appeared on our shelves.

Imagine my delight to discover that Melmoth, although set mostly in the present day, was a gosh-darn Gothic Horror! Jeanette's lucky day, folks. Neither gruesome nor gory, Melmoth was nevertheless a "read it with all the lights on" book for me; the looming figure of the Witness creates an almost oppressive tension that left me spellbound. Melmoth is an intricately choreographed danse macabre that weaves together unwitting characters throughout time and space. Exploring the universal themes of loneliness, guilt, and grief, Melmoth is not a light or easy read, but I was completely captivated.

OPL_DavidD Jan 16, 2019

An atmospheric novel about grief and loneliness, as well as about how we treat others. An unconventional structure lets complex characters from different points in history weave in and out of the story. A present day work of Gothic literature.

Dec 29, 2018

I am glad I finished the book. At times the concept seemed to much for me. I struggled with the concept that people could be so caught up in the writing of an old man who told the story of a woman who denied Christ and was doomed to walk the world forever. And yet, I had to keep reading to see how Helen could regain the life she wanted, and not be consumed by Melmoth. And the real scary part of this book, is not the mythology but the cruelty of humans.

Dec 05, 2018

Rich and interesting characters - check!
Otherworldly presence - check!
Hidden past. ""And if there is only us, we must do what Melmoth would do: see what must be seen-bear witness to what must not be forgotten." - check!
engaging and distinctive writing style - check!
Dark and delightful with meaning that floats in and out as does Melmoth.


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