“Masterful…scary and smart, working as a horror story but also a philosophical inquiry into the nature of will and love. Perry did as much in her richly praised novel The Essex Serpent, but this is a deeper, more complex novel and more rewarding.” —Washington Post
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. . . .
About the Author
Sarah Perry is the internationally bestselling author of The Essex Serpent and After Me Comes the Flood. She lives in England.
“Reels you in, using the same trick of all the best ghost stories, from The Turn of the Screw on: Is there really a ghost before you? Or do you see the projection of your own secret sins and desires? What is more frightening than the human?” — New York Times
“Masterful…scary and smart, working as a horror story but also a philosophical inquiry into the nature of will and love. Perry did as much in her richly praised novel The Essex Serpent, but this is a deeper, more complex novel and more rewarding.” — Washington Post
“Ms. Perry, whose last book, “The Essex Serpent,” was a breakout hit, again proves herself a master of atmosphere.” — Wall Street Journal
“The last few years have brought a glut of fashionably affectless and amoral fiction....Sarah Perry’s fierce, full-hearted books about love and ethics feel like an antidote to that elegant apathy....In a world that feels desperate, chaotic, and unredeemable, Melmoth asks us to be witnesses for each other.” — NPR
“Perry’s masterly piece of postmodern gothic is one of the great achievements of the century and deserves all the prizes and praise that will be heaped upon it.” — The Guardian
“The author of The Essex Serpent casts another haunting spell in this exquisitely written gothic novel.” — People
“An unforgettable achievement…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.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“This fever dream of a novel will prove as compelling and all-consuming as The Essex Serpent.” — Library Journal (starred review)
“[A] stylized, postmodern work by a masterly writer… 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 and Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, although Melmoth presents different kinds of nightmares.” — Booklist (starred review)
“Ingenious… haunting, disquieting and memorable, and showcase[s] Perry’s dazzling creative powers.” — Minneapolis Star Tribune
“[A] spine-tingling, gloriously creepy tale … this is horror done masterfully.” — Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“A spine-tingling story about despair and regret...[Perry’s] gorgeous lyricism and stunning prose make it difficult not to fall deeply for Melmoth, just as its fascinating characters and nested storytelling make it impossible not to get pulled into its darkness.” — Bustle
“In rich, lyrical prose, Perry weaves history and myth, human frailty and compassion, into an affecting gothic morality tale for 2018. A chilling novel about confronting our complicity in past atrocities—and retaining the strength and moral courage to strive for the future.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)