Summary and book reviews of Melmoth by Sarah Perry

Melmoth

by Sarah Perry

Melmoth by Sarah Perry X
Melmoth by Sarah Perry
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Oct 2018, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 1, 2019, 336 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Meara Conner
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

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 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...

J. A. Hoffman
c/o The National Library of the Czech Republic

December 2016

My dear Dr Pražan –

How deeply I regret that I must put this document in your hands, and so make you the witness to what I have done!


Many times you said to me: 'Josef, what are you writing? What have you been doing all this time?' My friend, I would not tell you, because I have been the watchman at the door. But now my pen is dry, the door is open, and something's waiting there that will turn what small regard you have for me to ruins. I can bear that well enough, since I never deserved your regard - but I am afraid for you, because beyond the threshold only one light shines, and it's far more dreadful than the dark...

Ten days have passed and all the while I have been thinking only of my fault, my fault, my most grievous fault! I do not sleep. I feel her eyes on me and with hope and dread I turn, but find I'm all alone! I walk through the city in the dark and think I ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Melmoth speaks to humanity's longing for redemption, while keeping its audience constantly on edge; make sure to read this one with the lights on.   (Reviewed by Meara Conner).

Full Review Members Only (646 words).

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Perry's heartbreaking, horrifying monster confronts the characters not just with the uncanny but also with the human: with humanity's complicity in history's darkest moments, its capacity for guilt, its power of witness, and its longing for both companionship and redemption.

Booklist
Starred Review. This is a sobering, disturbing, yet powerful and moving book that cannot fail to impress. The stories-within-stories and the Jewish themes recall Dara Horn's The World to Come (2006) and Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch (2013), although Melmoth presents different kinds of nightmares.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. A chilling novel about confronting our complicity in past atrocities - and retaining the strength and moral courage to strive for the future.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Melmoth the Wanderer: Inspiration for Sarah Perry's Melmoth

Cover of the Penguin Classics edition of <i>Melmoth the Wanderer</i> by Charles Robert Maturin Though the story encapsulated in Sarah Perry's Melmoth is entirely her own, it derives its name and legend from Irish playwright, Charles Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer. Published in 1820, Melmoth the Wanderer follows John Melmoth, a young student in Dublin, as he visits his dying uncle. Upon his arrival, he discovers an old portrait of a mysterious relative simply labeled, "Melmoth." At his uncle's funeral, John inquires about this photo and is given a manuscript transcribed by an old family acquaintance named Stanton, who has collected several dark legends regarding the being he refers to as "...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Sarah Perry

If you liked Melmoth, try these:

  • Circe jacket

    Circe

    by Madeline Miller

    Published 2020

    About this book

    More books by this author

    Winner of the 2018 BookBrowse Fiction Award

    The daring, dazzling and highly anticipated follow-up to the New York Times bestseller The Song of Achilles.

  • Black Rabbit Hall jacket

    Black Rabbit Hall

    by Eve Chase

    Published 2017

    About this book

    For fans of Kate Morton and Sarah Waters, here's a magnetic debut novel of wrenching family secrets, forbidden love, and heartbreaking loss housed within the grand gothic manor of Black Rabbit Hall.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Everything Inside
    Everything Inside
    by Edwidge Danticat
    Edwidge Danticat is a Haitian-American writer, and Haiti looms large as a presence in this ...
  • Book Jacket: The Beekeeper of Aleppo
    The Beekeeper of Aleppo
    by Christy Lefteri
    In Christy Lefteri's sophomore novel, The Beekeeper of Aleppo, the author introduces readers to ...
  • Book Jacket: Marilou Is Everywhere
    Marilou Is Everywhere
    by Sarah Elaine Smith
    "The point is that at that moment in my life," writes the narrator of Sarah Elaine Smith's debut ...
  • Book Jacket: Let's Call It a Doomsday
    Let's Call It a Doomsday
    by Katie Henry
    However the world will end, Ellis Kimball is ready for it. Her obsessive stash of survivalist ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Secrets We Kept
    by Lara Prescott

    Reese Witherspoon's Sept Book Club Pick!
    "This is the rare page-turner with prose that’s as wily as its plot."—EW
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Motherhood So White
    by Nefertiti Austin

    A heartwarming memoir of motherhood and adoption told through an African American lens.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
Today We Go Home
by Kelli Estes

Illuminating and deeply human, Today We Go Home shines a light on the brave military women of the past and present.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Chase Darkness with Me

How One True-Crime Writer Started Solving Murders

Have you ever wanted to solve a murder? Gather the clues the police overlooked? Put together the pieces? Identify the suspect?

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

S S A C A Big S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.