Melmoth (Perry) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
Each detour in Melmoth could be its own novel, and I was often sorry to leave them. There is a clarity to these historical sections, a care and restraint. Perry could be describing her own well-appointed sentences when she writes of a home, "Everything in it was so affectionately chosen that it did not seem furnished so much as inhabited."… The novel 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? For all the…special effects, it's the simple, domestic details that shine in this book: the hard snow that falls like "a table-salt glitter," the "consoling noises" of the teakettle, the way Perry brings a character to life in a few swift slashes…For all the swirling jackdaws and oppressive doom , this book has a ruddy optimism at its core…if suffering is never in short supply nor are opportunities for intercession, as Helen learns, to live according to the virtues of compassion, courage, self-sacrifice. "Look!" is the first word in several chapters. It is the book's moral injunction. Pay attention, Perry bids us. Don't leave the lonely to Melmoth.
Perul Sehgal - 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

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.
Guardian (UK)

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)

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.

The author of The Essex Serpent casts another haunting spell in this exquisitely written gothic novel.

(Starred review) [A]n unforgettable achievement.… Though rich in gothic tropes and sinister atmosphere, the novel transcends pastiche. Perry’s heartbreaking, horrifying monster confronts the characters …with humanity’s complicity in history’s darkest moments …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.

(Starred review) In rich, lyrical prose, Perry weaves history and myth, human frailty and compassion, into an affecting gothic morality tale for 2018.… Perry is changing what a modern-day ghost story can look like…. A chilling novel.
Kirkus Reviews

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