Dark places: Sarah Perry talks about her thrilling new book Melmoth
The new novel by Sarah Perry is out this month. It’s frighteningly good, writes Rowan Mantell
Is she watching? Following? Hiding in the shadows, her black dress darker than sin, her misery swirling towards you, ready to trap you, take you with her on her pitiless, punishing journey?
She lurks in legends around the world – wandering from tragedy to tragedy, bearing witness to the very worst that men and women can do. Now she is pacing on wrecked and bleeding feet through the pages of a seductive, compelling story by bestselling Norwich author Sarah Perry.
The new novel is haunted by a shadowy figure from phantom folklore. As the story ranges from Manila to Prague, via East Anglia, Melmoth is watching.
The book, also called Melmoth, opens in a wintry Prague, the piercing cold and soaring architecture a backdrop to the gradual unravelling of a carefully-hidden past. Helen Franklin is our guide to the city and alongside her we discover manuscripts, letters and testimonies and a cast of characters concealing secrets, which fuse into an unsettling and irresistible read.
Like Melmoth herself, Sarah Perry’s novel seeks out some of the darkest events of human history. Often there is a focus on the small, unremarkable, everyday actions and inactions of ordinary people which lead to unthinkable horrors.
And always lonely, Melmoth is watching and waiting, to offer the guilty a choice. The novel has already been called ‘a beautiful, devastating, brilliant book’ by Marion Keyes, and
The Woman in Black author Susan Hill says: “Sarah Perry is a wonderful writer, the real thing. Melmoth packs a punch of atmosphere, creepiness, fear and melancholy. I am going to move it