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Melmoth av Sarah Perry
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Melmoth (urspr publ 2018; utgåvan 2018)

av Sarah Perry (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
6846226,063 (3.51)51
Twenty years ago Helen Franklin did something she cannot forgive herself for, and she has spent every day since barricading herself against its memory. But her sheltered life is about to change.A strange manuscript has come into her possession. It is filled with testimonies from the darkest chapters of human history, which all record sightings of a tall, silent woman in black, with unblinking eyes and bleeding feet: Melmoth, the loneliest being in the world. Condemned to walk the Earth forever, she tries to beguile the guilty and lure them away for a lifetime wandering alongside her.Everyone that Melmoth seeks out must make a choice: to live with what they've done, or be led into the darkness. Helen can't stop reading, or shake the feeling that someone is watching her. As her past finally catches up with her, she too must choose which path to take.Exquisitely written, and gripping until the very end, this is a masterpiece of moral complexity, asking us profound questions about mercy, redemption and how to make the best of our conflicted world.… (mer)
Medlem:alacow
Titel:Melmoth
Författare:Sarah Perry (Författare)
Info:Serpent's Tail (2018), Edition: Main, 288 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:fiction

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Melmoth av Sarah Perry (2018)

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» Se även 51 omnämnanden

engelska (62)  tyska (2)  Alla språk (64)
Visa 1-5 av 64 (nästa | visa alla)
This is a bit difficult to review. It does have a unifying theme tying things together through Melmoth, but is otherwise largely a collection of essays, almost, of people from a wide variety of times and places. None of the characters are terribly likable... to me, but their stories are interesting and thought provoking. Perry has good human insight, so they're well developed. And the writing feels like every word was very intentionally chosen, almost like poetry. There's a lovely quality to it. The writing conveys information without necessarily spelling everything out plainly. Which someone will either enjoy and feel clever for understanding what is implied, or be annoyed by and feel unnecessarily put upon to decode the subtext. =D It took me a fair while to finish, because I felt like I needed time to ponder on what I'd read, before tackling the next part. But it was worth the effort. Also the narrator on the audiobook does a great job. ( )
  JorgeousJotts | Dec 3, 2021 |
Helen, living in Prague as a translator, is living a life of denial when her friend shares papers containing stories of Melmoth with her, which leads her to feel being watched as well. This book kept me guessing what was going to happen next and kept me reading despite a collection of rather unlikeable characters, including Helen herself. ( )
  mari_reads | Oct 13, 2021 |
A horror novel, a fevered dream, tales within tales, and a treatise on witnessing the brutality of humans. A book for now as our world edges to authoritarianism and a world of “others”. ( )
  auldhouse | Sep 30, 2021 |
This book was very slow to get going for me. I wasn't sure where the author was going and I found my mind wandering when I was listening to it. However, once Helen begins to read the story of others that have been claimed by Melmoth, it became more interesting. The writing is beautiful and evocative. I liked how it ended and the journey that Helen goes through when forced to literally face her demons. Overall, if you like literary novels with a bit of the supernatural, this one may be a good fit for you. ( )
  Cora-R | Apr 11, 2021 |
Sarah Perry's brand of Gothic is an existential one, where theological concepts of sin, guilt and redemption are writ large. Perry has never made a secret of her strict religious upbringing and the impact which it has had on her writing. In this case, however, the religious elements also betray the influence of Charles Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer, an 1820 novel which serves as the inspiration and model for Perry’s book.

Maturin’s protagonist is a Faustian character who strikes a deal with the Devil, selling his soul for a new lease of life. As the end of his extended term approaches, Melmoth searches the world for someone desperate enough to take his place. This turns out to be a surprisingly challenging task. There’s a moral behind this. Maturin, an Irish Protestant clergyman who, when not writing novels and plays, applied his skills to composing fiery sermons, stated in the preface to Melmoth that the germ of “this Romance (or Tale)” was to be found in one of his homilies:

'At this moment is there one of us present, however we may have departed from the Lord, disobeyed his will, and disregarded his word–is there one of us who would, at this moment, accept all that man could bestow, or earth afford, to resign the hope of his salvation?–No, there is not one–not such a fool on earth, were the enemy of mankind to traverse it with the offer!'

Sarah Perry recasts Melmoth as a black-clad woman, damned to roam the Earth after denying the Resurrection of Jesus, feet bloody from her lonely travels. This has echoes of the tale of the Wandering Jew, one of several myths and legends subtly evoked by Perry for added resonance. Rather than merely a temptress or wanderer, however, Perry’s Melmoth is, first and foremost, a “witness”: ever waiting, ever watching, listening and remembering the darkest and guiltiest secrets, ‘lest we forget’. Like Maturin’s Melmoth, she also seeks individuals as desperate as she is – except that rather than wanting them to replace her, she tries to lure them to accompany her on her guilt trip.

Structure-wise, Perry takes a leaf from Maturin’s book and from other Gothic classics such as Potocki’s "Manuscript found in Saragossa". Thus the novel is a matryoshka doll of stories within stories, most which are based on “found” documents or related by unreliable narrators. Melmoth’s character provides a link between the different episodes, but there is also an overarching frame story featuring one Helen Franklin, an Englishwoman working as a translator in Prague. Lonely and melancholic, not unlike Melmoth herself, Helen finds some warmth in her friendship with academic Karel and his English lawyer wife Thea. It is Karel who introduces Helen to the mythical figure of “Melmoth”, about whom he is becoming obsessed. After Karel disappears, Helen learns, through documents he leaves behind, of other people who, over the centuries, appear to have been haunted by Melmoth. In a brilliant narrative move, Perry uses each episode to portray examples of individual guilt which also represent some of the worst instances of Man’s inhumanity to Man. We witness burnings of heretics in 16th Century England, lowly Turkish officials facilitating the Armenian genocide and, in one of the lengthier parts of the book, the confession of an elderly German regarding his small, but no less heinous, role in the Holocaust. Throughout, Melmoth glides, accompanied by an entourage of crows, terrifying in appearance, but more harrowing still in the guilty memories she evokes. We ultimately discover that even Helen has her secrets, prompting a final showdown between her and Melmoth.

Perry’s monster is deliciously ambiguous. At times, her presence seems almost benevolent, righteous – even necessary. But Melmoth is frightening chiefly because she wants to deny her victims the chance to start again. The novel’s ultimate message is not one of guilt but of redemption. Remembering, it seems to suggest, is vital. Evil should be recognised and not forgotten. And yet, it is often easier and sweeter to succumb to self-pity or, worse, despair, rather than to accept the possibility – and gift – of redemption. One should embrace this challenge, and live.

If it all sounds heavy and philosophical, it’s because it is. But Perry manages to package these complex ideas into a gripping novel. In this respect, she’s certainly better than Maturin. At its best, his Melmoth the Wanderer is exciting, brilliant and visionary. But, too often, it feels interminable, not just because of its sheer length (over 600 pages) but also because of its verbose asides, its obsession with irrelevant detail, and its haughty religious (and generally anti-Catholic) rhetoric. Perry’s novel is meant for less patient readers, packing more punch in hardly half the length.

Some find Perry's writing style rather too ornate – frankly, Calvinist as her theology might be, her voluptuous prose reminds me more of Catholic baroque. And that’s fine by me. I loved her atmospheric, poetic descriptions of Prague; I loved the ease in which she slips into the second person narrative, as though she is placing us behind a movie camera; I loved the way she evokes the presence of her wraith-like creation, horribly real and yet undefined … a woman in dark clothes seen just at the very corner of your eye, slipping from view… she’ll follow you down paths and alleys in the dark, or come in the night and sit waiting at the end of your bed. Doesn’t it send shivers down your spine?

For a fuller review, accompanied by a playlist of music to accompany the novel, check out my blogpost at:
http://endsoftheword.blogspot.com/2019/02/sarah-perry-melmoth.html ( )
1 rösta JosephCamilleri | Mar 5, 2021 |
Visa 1-5 av 64 (nästa | visa alla)
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.
tillagd av rretzler | ändraPublishers Weekly (starred review) (betalvägg) (Aug 13, 2018)
 
A chilling novel about confronting our complicity in past atrocities—and retaining the strength and moral courage to strive for the future.
 

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Sarah Perryprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Fox, EmiliaBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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Keep your mind in hell, and despair not. Silouan the Athonite quoted in Love's Work by Gillian Rose
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In Memoriam Charles Robert Maturin
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My dear Mr. Prazan - How deeply I regret that I must put this document in your hands, and so make you the witness to what I have done!
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Twenty years ago Helen Franklin did something she cannot forgive herself for, and she has spent every day since barricading herself against its memory. But her sheltered life is about to change.A strange manuscript has come into her possession. It is filled with testimonies from the darkest chapters of human history, which all record sightings of a tall, silent woman in black, with unblinking eyes and bleeding feet: Melmoth, the loneliest being in the world. Condemned to walk the Earth forever, she tries to beguile the guilty and lure them away for a lifetime wandering alongside her.Everyone that Melmoth seeks out must make a choice: to live with what they've done, or be led into the darkness. Helen can't stop reading, or shake the feeling that someone is watching her. As her past finally catches up with her, she too must choose which path to take.Exquisitely written, and gripping until the very end, this is a masterpiece of moral complexity, asking us profound questions about mercy, redemption and how to make the best of our conflicted world.

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