Melmoth by Sarah Perry

Melmoth has found me. And I’m very thankful it happened.

Genre: Gothic and historical fiction. ⭐️Stars from Goodreads: 3.8. ⭐️Stars from me: 5.

Melmoth. The story.

Have you ever watched the Japanese version of The Ring? Do you remember the moment when that long-haired lady crawls out from the TV screen? That’s approximately how it feels to be reading Melmoth. Only the feeling is not as simple because Melmoth is not a story to spook you for your entertainment. Melmoth does get out of the book but not to harm you. She wants to show you how people can harm.

Melmoth is a story about human nature shown through some elements of fantasy. It takes you through several different timeframes and storylines but its core story is set in Prague, in winter. I felt the snow and saw it falling. It was so realistic I had to collect my things from the hot beach and retreat to my shadowed bedroom in order to escape the contradiction.

Melmoth. The writing.

I don’t know how Sarah Perry does it but I’m so grateful she does it. Just like her character, she takes you by your hand and leads you through the story. She tells it in her very special way and it works. From the first pages there’s a rhythm and a style. And from the first sentences you want more. My copy is a tree of shining bookmarks.

Melmoth travelling the planet, witnessing a Yugoslavian train station, Montenegrin mountains, Italian cars made in Serbia.


The bookmarks point to quotes, although I can’t even call them quotes. They are universes of their own. Look at some of them:

  • “She notes with unease how he holds it with both avarice and distaste, as if it were an object he had coveted all his life, only to find that having paid the asking price it had a foul smell.”
  • “You are so ordinary your very existence makes the extraordinary seem impossible. I mean it as a compliment.”
  • “The change that has come over him is nothing less than the change from mortality to immortality: it all at once occurs to her, as it never has before, that he’ll die; that death already has its imprint on him, on the days he’s not yet lived, like a watermark on empty sheets of paper.”
  • “The silence is something more than the absence of noise.”

And one more, from those jackdaws crying for the first time. The moment freezes your blood.

  • Why? they said: how? how? why? I looked away.”

I read this book, sometimes putting this composition on. I think it enhances the experience and brings even more Melmoth into your life. Try it.

Melmoth. Other reviews.

Melmoth is everybody’s mirror. The reflection is different for every reader. I’m attaching the list of bloggers’ reviews that I liked the most.

  1. Ova’s honest and deep review of Melmoth.
  2. An absolutely amazing review from Umut where she analyses the structure of the book.
  3. Another very informative review of Melmoth.
  4. And one more very good review.

Do I suggest you read Melmoth? I don’t just suggest you do it, I dare you to.

7 thoughts on “Melmoth by Sarah Perry

  1. I love the passion and enthusiasm you have for this book – I’m a real wuss, though. I feels as though there might be a strong horror element and I can’t cope with that…

    1. Thank you Sarah 🙂 I am usually passionate about books. It doesn’t mean that I always love them, but I’m usually emotional about the books I read. As for the horror elements, you know, I wouldn’t say that the horror elements are the scariest part of the book. I wouldn’t say they are that scary at all, actually. What I would warn about is some violence. Some stories happen during genocides and wars, and even witch-hunts, so some scenes are quite harsh. There were about three paragraphs I intentionally skipped when I realised what they would be about.
      Amazon has this preview option so that you can read a few pages from the book. Maybe you would want to try it and see if the writing’s worth it. I wouldn’t insist though as everybody has different levels of sensitivity to books. Thanks for your comment! 🙂

      1. You’re welcome – thank you so much for your throughtful comment to let me know exactly how much horror/violence there is – I appreciate it:).

        1. I actually would like to add some corrections to my comment. The scenes that I called witch-hunts are not really about witches but about heretics. The result for them is the same though, that’s why I thought about witches first, not heretics.

  2. I am excited for this one! The historical fiction/fantasy element really intrigues me. I just saw that this is “en route” to my library for me this week, so hopefully I’ll get a chance to read it soon, too!!

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