Melmoth: A Novel (Paperback)

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November 2018 Indie Next List

Melmoth is evocative and atmospheric, the perfect book for a chilly night and the turning of the seasons. Through diaries, letters, and narration, we are introduced to the legendary Melmoth, who is cursed to wander the world alone and watch humans destroy themselves over and over. This quintessential gothic tale is set against the vivid backdrop of winter in Prague and populated by fully realized supporting characters and a protagonist with a hell of a secret. Melmoth, eternal witness to humanity at both its most banal and its most depraved, will haunt me.”
— Chelsea Bauer, Union Avenue Books, Knoxville, TN


“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.

Praise For…

The Essex Serpent, but this is a deeper, more complex novel and more rewarding.”]]>
Washington Post

New York Times Book Review

The Essex Serpent, was a breakout hit, again proves herself a master of atmosphere.”]]>
Wall Street Journal

— NPR Book of the Year

Entertainment Weekly

Melmoth asks us to be witnesses for each other.”]]>

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

The Guardian

The Essex Serpent casts another haunting spell in this exquisitely written gothic novel.”]]>

Financial Times

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

The Essex Serpent.”]]>
Library Journal (starred review)

The World to Come and Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, although Melmoth presents different kinds of nightmares.”]]>
Booklist (starred review)


New York]]>
New York

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Globe and Mail (Toronto)

AU Review

Melmoth, just as its fascinating characters and nested storytelling make it impossible not to get pulled into its darkness.”]]>

Melmoth, the latest novel from Essex Serpent author Sarah Perry, is lush. This is a novel where every sentence has been wrapped in layer upon layer of velvet.”]]>

Daily Mail (UK)

The Spectator

Radio 4

Book Riot

New Statesman

Melmoth chooses not to flinch away in such a fashion but rather rushes, full tilt and without apology, towards the uncanny... This bold, ambitious piece of work is a serious contribution to contemporary gothic.”]]>
Literary Review

The Bookseller

The Scotsman


The Essex Serpent mined Victorian history for a legend and worked it up into a romance with broader social themes, then Melmoth repeats that trick in multiple dimensions.”]]>
New Republic

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Product Details
ISBN: 9780062856425
Publisher: Custom House
Publication Date: October 16th, 2018
Pages: 288
Language: English