Melmoth (Paperback)Sarah Perry (author)
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Following former Waterstones Book of the Year, The Essex Serpent, was always going to be a tall order but Sarah Perry succeeds gloriously with this bold and eerie recasting of Charles Maturin's gothic classic, Melmoth the Wanderer. As a silent, lonely figure with bleeding feet stalks the guilty and conscience-racked, Melmoth provides a chilling portrait of life poised between absolution and the darkness that calls.
Shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize 2019
After the success of her tour-de-force novel, The Essex Serpent, Sarah Perry returns with Melmoth, a profound, ambitiously realised work of fiction which asks fundamental questions about guilt, forgiveness, moral reckoning and how we come to terms with our actions in a conflicted world.
Twenty years ago Helen Franklin did something she cannot forgive herself for, and she has spent every day since barricading herself against its memory. But the sheltered life she has crafted for herself is about to change.
A strange manuscript has come into her possession, and its contents have the power to unravel every strand of her fragile safety net. It is filled with testimonies from the darkest chapters of human history, which all record sightings of a tall, silent woman in black, with unblinking eyes and bleeding feet: Melmoth, the loneliest being in the world. Condemned to walk the Earth forever, she tries to beguile the guilty and lure them away for a lifetime wandering alongside her.
Everyone that Melmoth seeks out must make a choice: to live with what they've done, or be led into the darkness. Despite her scepticism, Helen can't stop reading, or shake the feeling that someone or something is watching her. As her past finally catches up with her, she too must choose which path to take.
Melmoth takes its title from Charles Maturin's 1820 Gothic novel, Melmoth the Wanderer. Long considered an overlooked classic, its a composite novel, layering story within story to build up a picture of a man doomed to wander, a man who sold his soul to the devil for 150 extra years of life and is paying the price.
We at Waterstones have been championing Sarah Perry's writing from her eerily chilling and original first novel, After Me Comes the Flood, to the brilliance of her Waterstones Book of the Year-winning masterpiece, The Essex Serpent. Perry's prose could spin gold from flax, but this new project, which encompasses gothic influences and tackles essential notions of faith and redemption, promises to cement Perry's reputation as one of the finest novelists of our time.
Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 246 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 17 mm
‘It’s… a novel that manages that vanishingly rare feat – being at once hugely readable and profoundly important. I’ve read Melmoth twice now and can’t remember a book that has managed to condense so much into so few pages.’ - The Observer
'Masterful ... scary and smart, working as a horror story but also a philosophical inquiry into the nature of will and love.' - The Washington Post
'Another Gothic stunner ... a scary novel that chills to the bone even as it points the way to a warmer, more humane, place.' - The New York Times Book Review
'Filled with thought-provoking ideas on historical guilt and personal responsibility, as well as a depth of learning...the message at its heart is an uplifting one; even if redemption for wrongdoing cannot always be achieved, there is power in bearing witness.' - The Financial Times
'Astonishingly dark, rich storytelling, exquisitely balanced between gothic shocks and emotional truth' - Francis Spufford
'Mythic, ominous and sensitively human, Melmoth is haunting in all the best ways' - Frances Hardinge
'This is a beautiful, devastating, brilliant book. It affected me so much I was shaking after I read it. The exquisite, immersive writing compelled me to keep reading even through the horrors described.' - Marian Keyes
'Sarah Perry is a wonderful writer, the real thing' - Susan Hill
Praise for The Essex Serpent:
'One of the most memorable historical novels of the past decade' - Sunday Times
'An irresistible novel that taps the vein of Victorian gothic and British myth' - Daily Telegraph
Praise for After Me Comes the Flood:
'Remarkable... will haunt the reader long after the final page.' - Guardian
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