Găsiți următorul dvs. carte audio preferat

Deveniți un membru astăzi și ascultați gratuit pentru 30 zile
Melmoth

Melmoth

Scris de Sarah Perry

Povestit de Jan Cramer


Melmoth

Scris de Sarah Perry

Povestit de Jan Cramer

evaluări:
3.5/5 (34 evaluări)
Lungime:
10 hours
Lansat:
Oct 16, 2018
ISBN:
9780062856432
Format:
Carte audio

Descriere

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. . . .

Lansat:
Oct 16, 2018
ISBN:
9780062856432
Format:
Carte audio


Despre autor

Sarah Perry is the internationally bestselling author of The Essex Serpent and After Me Comes the Flood. She lives in England.

Legat de Melmoth

Cărți audio conex

Recenzii

Ce părere au oamenii despre Melmoth

3.5
34 evaluări / 28 Recenzii
Ce părere aveți?
Evaluare: 0 din 5 stele

Recenziile cititorilor

  • (3/5)
    I was cautiously optimistic about Melmoth. I have read Sarah Perry's novel The Essex Serpent and found her to be a talented writer. My main complaint with The Essex Serpent was that there were too many story lines and the ending felt a bit abrupt. Based on the publisher description, I thought that there was a good chance that Melmoth would appeal to me more and I hoped it would be a bit more focused. Unfortunately, I have the same complaints about Melmoth that I had with The Essex Serpent. There were just too many story lines and characters that I wasn't as interested in and not enough time spent with the main character Helen, who I did find compelling. Much of the book is written as accounts of people who have encountered the mysterious Melmoth throughout history, and many of these dragged for me. I will say that my interest increased in the second half of the book, and I enjoyed the parts about Helen and her past the most. It might be that Sarah Perry just isn't the writer for me.
  • (3/5)
    A bit confusing in the end. To figure out what is real and what it not.
  • (4/5)
    I am glad I finished the book. At times the concept seemed to much for me. I struggled with the concept that people could be so caught up in the writing of an old man who told the story of a woman who denied Christ and was doomed to walk the world forever. And yet, I had to keep reading to see how Helen could regain the life she wanted, and not be consumed by Melmoth. And the real scary part of this book, is not the mythology but the cruelty of humans.
  • (3/5)
    I always hate starting off the year with a disappointing read. I loved Sarah Perry's last book, The Essex Serpent, and was really looking forward to Melmoth. There were elements of the supernatural in The Essex Serpent, but it was, to me, much more a story about characters, their relationships, and the struggles they faced in Victorian England. Here, although there is a psychological element, Perry seems to have been overwhelmed by the creepy and the desire to write a book that would appeal to readers who are love both literary and creepy books. Unfortunately, she failed. The result is a book that seems to have been based on a lot of research that the author didn't quite know what to do with. To a great extent, she just shoves that research into the book as research done by her characters, surrounded by a rather week plot.The legend of Melmoth the Wanderer (known variously by other names) exists in many countries. One of the women who found Christ's tomb empty on the third day, Melmoth later denied that anything miraculous had happened and was condemned to wander the earth looking for a companion. She's depicted as the typical wraith: draped in swirling, filmy black cloth, he eyes hollow, her feet bloody from centuries of walking. Helen Franklin, the novel's main character, has lived in Prague for over 20 years. A quiet, solitary, mousy woman who translates equipment manuals for a living, she has befriended Karel, a professor, and his English wife, Thea, recently wheelchair-bound by a stroke. One day Karel calls her, frantic to set up a meeting, at which he thrusts into her hands half of a manuscript. It contains the research of Josef Hoffman, an elderly man who has recently died; the focus is reported sightings of Melmoth, who has a history of appearing to people in desperate situations or consumed with guilt. Shortly thereafter, Karel disappears, leaving Helen to watch over Thea and to continue reading the documents he has left her. The more she reads, the more she has a sense of being followed. Is it Melmoth? Or is it a secret from her past? Things start to both fall into place and get crazier when Thea gives Helen the second half of Hoffman's manuscript.All I can say, in conclusion, is that I was mightily disappointed. The plot is transparent, the "surprises" not very surprising, and the structure weak. I would have given the book a lower rating if it hadn't been for Perry's fine writing. And I suppose one could read it as a study of human cruelty and selfishness, something we should all be attuned to these days.
  • (2/5)
    Hooray, I finally finished this slow, semi-tortuous read. Overall I thought the plot was boring, slightly confusing, and certain parts were unnecessary to the plot. If this wasn't part of a book club, I would have bailed.
  • (3/5)
    I really wanted to love this book, as I loved "The Essex Serpent," but this one didn't click as easily for me. The real strength of "The Essex Serpent" was the strength and pull of its setting, making for an enveloping, atmospheric read that was a worthy homage to the gothic genre it emulated. We don't really get the same thing here. Perry's Prague never coalesced in the same way, partially because we don't spend a whole lot of time here. The back and forth through different primary sources and stories leaves little time for a fully-developed central story, and I often found myself dreading the return of the frame narrative. I found the small vignettes created by Helen's research into the mythos of Melmoth the Witness to be much more interesting than the book's main thread. I don't feel I ever really developed a real idea of Helen or Thea, and the pacing toward the work's conclusion felt somewhat off for me. There are more than a few glimpses of Perry's obvious talent for great scenes, elegant writing, and lasting images, but it couldn't quite overcome the feeling of emptiness at the center of this book for me. Even if this one didn't quite hit the mark, I still enjoy Perry's style and look forward to her next endeavor. And, if nothing else, "The Essex Serpent" remains one of my favorite historical fiction novels of the past few years! Thanks to LibraryThing and the publisher for the advance reader's copy of "Melmoth."
  • (3/5)
    “Dear heart, I have watched you so long.... I was there when you lay awake in the dark and wondered who stood at the foot of your bed!...Oh, and I saw what you did when you shouldn’t have done it — I know what thoughts plague you most, when you cannot keep hold of your mind — I know what you cannot confess not even alone, when all the doors are bolted against your family and friends!” The clue that I was not the right audience for this book is that those lines at the climax of the book reminded me of the song “Santa Clause is Coming to Town”. “I know when you’ve been bad or good.” I realize that that is sacrilegious to the people who love this book, but I found most of it to be really pretentious and boring. I was indifferent to the Melmoth legend and the attempt at gothic melodrama. The only part of the book that I really liked was Helen’s time in the Philippines. Sorry, not the book for me. However, I didn’t mind the author’s writing style generally, so I would try her again. I received a free copy of the paperback ARC from the publisher, but I wound up listening to the audio book. I thought that the narrator was too dramatic and her reading was too slow, even when sped up. It’s probably a bad sign when the narration is introduced as having been “performed” by, rather than “read”.
  • (5/5)
    I was looking forward to reading Melmoth very much - I loved The Essex Serpent and saw Sarah Perry talking about Melmoth at a literary festival recently, which piqued my interest even more.Happily, it didn't disappoint. I absolutely loved the characters, who all practically step off the page, and the Prague setting is wonderful (I've been there so I particularly enjoyed it for that reason!). The story itself is not really your average 'spooky story’ tale. It's more of a cautionary story about whether we should let horrible things happen to other people, or do something about it - even if it's just bearing witness (does simply watching make you complicit in the crime?). But there were plenty of moments that sent a shiver down my spine (I did read this during Halloween!). The stories in the historical documents in particular were disturbing in several ways, and then, of course, there's the mysterious and doom-laden Melmoth herself, who is hard to forget.The star of the novel, though, is Perry's wonderful way with words. I didn't think she could better the writing in The Essex Serpent, but I was quite frankly amazed by her vivid, compelling descriptions in Melmoth, and couldn't get enough of them.This isn't a book to read if you just want a good ghost story, but it's for you if you want something that will challenge you while still being absolutely gripping.
  • (3/5)
    A modern gothic. Helen Franklin, working in Prague, is given papers which are first-person accounts of persons having seen and had interaction with a mysterious "Wandering Jew"-type woman: Melmoth, sentenced to wander the earth and observe evil that humans do. Helen herself had perpetrated a mercy killing and other characters had done some sort of evil: e.g., a Philippine pharmacist's assistant, a Jewish family in the 1930s, a low-level Ottoman bureaucrat. The story was eerie and the best thing about it was the author's conveying the atmosphere through her style: the overhanging sense of mystery and dread. Sometimes I had goosebumps from her descriptions.
  • (3/5)
    I really wanted to like this one more than I did. The premise, a riff on Maturin's 1820 novel, is a good one, and some of the collected "historical documents" get delightfully creepy, but I found the overarching narrative a bit too overwritten and it ended up not doing much for me at all.
  • (2/5)
    Melmoth, a woman in a dark cloak who appears in the shadows and encourages others to join her in her seemingly lost wanderings as she haunts certain other "lost" individuals, is a legend that's been carried on through the ages. Helen Franklin, British but living in Prague for quite some time, catches wind of these haunting tales and can't help but feel that there are eyes watching her. When her friend Karel disappears mysteriously, the tale of Melmoth invades her thoughts more convincingly and she can't shake the feeling that something is amiss.This story sounds intriguing and mysterious, with many Gothic undertones. I was quite excited to receive an advanced reader's copy, especially with deckled edges and such a beautiful cover. But unfortunately, that's where the fascination ended for me. This novel started out slow and never picked up pace, and sadly, I gave up about one-third of the way through. As with many Gothic tales, it was very atmospheric, yet also very dark and depressing. But I really couldn't connect and found that it dragged relentlessly. The main character of Helen was dull and flat. And the formatting of the book -- not organized in chapters, but rather long descriptive paragraphs that more or less ran together -- was just not conducive to adding to my reading pleasure. While I do think Sarah Perry is mostly gifted in her writing, I think her style bogged itself down in this one. Perhaps I gave up too quickly, and I don't do it often, but when I find myself not looking forward to picking up my book, it's time to move on.
  • (4/5)
    I began Melmoth without any knowledge of the legend, or any idea of the parameters of this specific novel—this sort of “story-blindness” is pretty rare. (I had read The Essex Serpent, but the two books aren’t particularly similar.) The novel’s overarching story takes place in a Prague that’s supposed to be modern, but struck me as uncomfortably ahistorical. None of the characters are meant to be pleasant, so when some are offered redemption at the end, it rings false—or perhaps I prefer comeuppance.High marks for the character of Melmoth.
  • (3/5)
    I expected to like Melmoth. I really did. "The Essex Serpent' is one of the best books that I've read in years, and I truly had high hopes for this one.Alas. It was a slow starter. Really slow. And it was depressing. This is not a time of my life when I can afford to read depressing. The news is bad enough.So I'm going with three stars because it can't be as bad as I think it is.
  • (3/5)
    I find it impossible to approach reviewing Sarah Perry's new novel without referencing her prior novel THE ESSEX SERPENT. Like so many readers, I fell in love with that book. It was an absolute and unexpected delight -- one of my favorite novels of recent years.Just as in THE ESSEX SERPENT, again a haunting monster figure looms large. And in both books, there's the question of whether it's real or all in the imagination. But here's where the books differ. THE ESSEX SERPENT was rich, warm, and bursting with life. Ultimately, the monster didn't matter -- it was just a way to frame the story around some fully realized and truly wonderful characters. It was the lives of these characters that made the novel so memorable. They were all too human, and in their troubles and weaknesses and joys, I found myself caring very much about what happened to them. And, really, that's a sort of definition of good fiction and what it can do.While THE ESSEX SERPENT was full of humanity, MELMOTH by contrast I found cold, flat, and strangely lifeless. I thought that the "monster" and the heavy mood of Gothic doom and gloom overwhelmed the characters and the plot (such as it is). There's only one true character who emerges, and I felt like even she remains a sort of stranger to us. To an extent, I think that's what Perry was aiming for here, and I get that. Helen is supposed to be mysterious and distant, with her spare and drab life of penance for some monumental transgression in her past. But, I'm just not sure it all works. Perhaps it simply took too long to reveal Helen's sin and how it shaped her adulthood. By the time we got that crucial backstory, I had sort of lost interest in Helen and her plight and whether or not there would be redemption for her in the end. Even worse, instead of the dread we were supposed to feel, it all unfortunately started to seem a bit ridiculous to me. (Seriously: enough with the jackdaws already!) This, I suppose, is always the risk with "monsters" or anything supernatural. It's far too easy to veer from scary in the direction of silly.MELMOTH is a clever book in its structure, and I respect very much what Perry was trying to accomplish with it. She clearly is not short on imagination or talent. Her writing is often lovely, and there's much fine prose to appreciate here. But it just never really spoke to me and I didn't find it entirely successful. It truly pains me to write a lackluster review of MELMOTH, which I had so wanted to like. Regardless, I will still look forward very much to whatever she writes next. (Thank you to Custom House for a complimentary advance copy in exchange for an unbiased review.)
  • (5/5)
    Creepy gothic tale with some modern touches. Slow moving most of the time, but that just allows the tension to build up to a shocking climax. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who is suffering from depression, it'll surely worsen that! Very well done... two enthusiastic thumbs way up!
  • (4/5)
    Maybe not the full 4, but close enough. Thanks to Library thing for the ARC and here I offer my honest review. I'll start off by suggesting that you read other people's reviews, because I find them much more articulate in writing about the style of the book. I can tell you it was actually creepy. I considered that I might need to stop reading it at night. I will look to see if other authors have taken up this legend. I also liked this book better than her first, The Essex Serpent. I loved the "primary sources" from the literature being scattered throughout the book. The piece relating to the Armenian Genocide was particularly poignant, while the young Czech was horrible. That last sentence notwithstanding, it was a fun read and went pretty quickly, I enjoyed it.
  • (4/5)
    A novel spin on the myth of the Wandering Jew, Melmoth invites the reader to consider the weight of private sins and punishments. The focus of the narrative is Helen, a drab translator who refuses herself pleasures of any kind; it will well toward the end of the book before we learn why. The driving action centers on her exposure to the myth, and how it plays on the perceptions and consciences of various characters. A weakness of the tale, for me, is that Melmoth is portrayed inconsistently. Is she a force of good who punishes the evil, or of evil who is simply attracted to people who are also evil? We seem to get bits of both. Helen is not evil, although she has committed some questionable acts. In fact, we tend to like all those stalked by Melmoth. Is the lesson that ordinary people are deserving of supernatural judgment and condemnation? It's not really clear. For that reason, although this book's framework could have conceivably supported something more philosophically provocative on the nature of evil and the consequences of individual choices (I'm thinking along the lines of Camus, perhaps), instead we merely get a solid gothic ghost story.
  • (5/5)
    Just finished reading this incredible story. I was lucky enough to have been able to receive an advance copy. Sarah Perry has woven an intricate tale of sin, punishment, guilt and the one thing that none of us can escape, and that is being human. I believe the story can be taken many different ways. But what it boils down to is that we are hardwired and predictable. The pace of the book is smooth and seamless, even though it moves around quite a bit. She manages to create such a story without filler. Some parts of the book make me wonder if she was visited by the still living but ever wandering dark soul that is Clive Barker. This is one book that will be on my top tier shelf for many years. I walked away from it with a heavy heart, but also knowing that even though pre destiny lurks around the corner we are still masters of our own fate and have no one to blame for our consequences than ourselves. I will surely be picking up her other works. Melmoth is much easier on the eyes and brain than Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer. But don't let that fool you. She will stick her fingers around the back of your brain, pinch your soul and break your heart in a much more subtle way. And when it is all done and you are picking the pieces of broken soul from the floor, you will realize that you are the one who dropped it in the first place. Perry echoes the true Gothic literary movement with her penmanship. In two hundred years her work will still stand with the pioneers of the genre.
  • (4/5)
    I was excited to have the opportunity to read and review Sarah Perry’s Melmoth for LT Early Reviewers, after reading and enjoying The Essex Serpent last year. If you have enjoyed Sarah Perry’s previous work, Melmoth does not disappoint. The book is short (my ARC measured 245 pages) but she packs in so much about human nature, guilt, regret, and redemption that it was much more satisfying than many books of the same length. It was eerie and atmospheric and ended with just a little bit of mystery remaining, which is my favorite way for a book to end.
  • (5/5)
    Helen lives quietly in Prague. She rents a room from an unpleasant old woman and earns her keep translating appliance owner's manuals and medical brochures into English. She dresses plainly and stays out of the way. But despite that, she's dragged into life when she shares a table in a crowded cafeteria with a Czech man who is researching the story of Melmoth, the mythical woman condemned to walk the world on bloody feet, witnessing the cruelty of man towards his fellow man. What follows is both Helen's story, but also earlier stories, from a woman burned at the stake in sixteenth century England, to a boy living in the Czech countryside, the novel moves back and forth though time. Sarah Perry has done a beautiful job with the pacing and plotting, everything is revealed at the right time, and the novel comes together beautifully at the end. [Melmoth] reminded me of Geraldine Brooks's People of the Book. Sarah Perry is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors. I'm eager to read whatever she writes next.
  • (4/5)
    At first, this book suffered in my mind in comparison to Sarah Perry’s earlier novel, The Essex Serpent, which I enjoyed very much. The story here, about a translator working in Prague who encounters a tale of Melmoth the Witness (in this version, a ghostly wraith of a woman who is alive through the ages, tempting the guilt-ridden to join her in her damnation and solitude), didn’t involve me enough at first. The interwoven stories and manuscripts telling of different people encountering Melmoth at different points in history, seemed too disconnected to make a fully rounded whole. Even though the ending—revealing Helen Franklin’s own much-foreshadowed guilty act—was satisfying for me, I still saw the other mini-tales as unsatisfying and uneven. And yet. The stories have stuck with me. I’m glad I waited a while to write this review. I’ve found myself pondering—and even dreaming about—the characters in this book, their guilt and the possibilities for forgiveness, or at least carrying on in some positive way. In the best and most literal way, this turned out to be a haunting novel.
  • (2/5)
    I read and Loved The Essex Serpent. The characters were quirky and alive and the book was slow paced and sometimes dark but compelling. I looked forward to Melmoth. I was sadly disappointed. Thea and Helen were faded and dry Karel dismissive and bland. Josef was the one who nearly sent me over the edge. I didn't care about his story, so drab was his thread in this story. Nothing but despair and sadness. I made it about 75% through, and then only because it was the only book I had with me while waiting for a late to arrive friend. I would just say no and I would not recommend it.
  • (4/5)
    Part myth and fable, part mystery, part love story and the concept of free will -- wonderful novel by the author of The Essex Serpent.
  • (4/5)
    Melmoth blends short story with novel, telling the present-tense tale of translator Helen and her friend Karl, together with dark tales of cruel history. It’s all given in an appealingly Victorian style, the narrator begging the reader to “look,” then slowly drawing the cloth away on crimes of the past.Suddenly tragic and haunting, then switching again to that question of “who pulls the strings,” Melmoth offers a witness to crime, a carrier of despair, and a lingering thread of hope. It all draws together toward an ending that’s powerful and makes the reader want to read again.Melmoth is a slow, dark read, sometimes confusing, oddly enthralling, and deeply evocative. The characters are flawed and broken, the legend is dark and sad, and the shifting scenes of Karel’s rediscovered manuscript are horrifyingly real. A novel of human brokenness, and a legend of need, it’s a cool, dark, slow, mysterious read.Disclosure: I think I preferred the Essex Serpent, but this one’s a good read too.
  • (2/5)
    This has been the most disappointing book I have read so far this year. I hadn’t particularly wanted to read it in the first place having found myself in a minority of one if not liking Ms Perry’s previous novel, The Essex Serpent. (In fact, I couldn’t bring myself to read much more than the opening pages). I had been given a copy of Melmoth, and, with perhaps characteristic ingratitude, had left it to one side.However, having seen the very effusive reviews of it, I decided to give it a chance, and was very pleasantly surprised by how engrossing the opening sections were. These introduce the principle characters in modern day Prague where Helen Franklin is living in straitened circumstances, earning a meagre living by translating technical documents from German or Czech into English. Despite having lived there for several years, she has made just two friends: Karel, an academic working at the university, and his now-disabled wife Thea.As the novel opens, Helen encounters Karel in the streets near the university and, obviously disturbed by some upheaval, he passes her a sheaf of documents and asks her to read them, although he warns her that her life will never be the same again.it was at this point that my enchantment withy the story wavered (well, plummeted, really). I found the story within the story to be poorly constructed and simply tedious, and unfortunately it simply served to reconfirm my prejudices from the opening of The Essex Serpent.
  • (3/5)
    Melmoth has all of the ingredients to make a great book: Prague, libraries, opera, Borgesian 'historical' documents – all in the grand romantic framework of Charles Robert Maturin. Unfortunately, the result is similar to what happens when you mix all of the colours in the paintbox together: an unpleasant brown splodge. As a writer Sarah Perry is an excellent stylist, but this alone is not enough to overcome the dry characters, static plot and one-note atmosphere.
  • (3/5)
    Helen Franklin is living in a self-imposed exile in Prague, where she meets Karel and through him is given a manuscript describing an encounter with a woman named Melmoth. Melmoth, often described as a child's fairy tale, is an immortal witness to the worst crimes of humanity; she is often glimpsed like a shadow, watching. Like Karel, Helen becomes obsessed with Melmoth and tracking down other stories about her. The novel consists of these stories intertwined with the mystery of how Helen came to be in Prague and what she is atoning for. This short novel is long on atmosphere. I thought the story-within-a-story format worked well here, and I found those stories of the past more compelling than Helen's present story. I wouldn't call this horror so much as existential, musing on the sins we are capable of committing and the guilt we all carry, and what we can do with that.
  • (4/5)
    This book is just what I hoped for with Sarah Perry’s new novel: chilling and wonderfully Gothic. Melmoth the Witness has been roaming the earth for 2,000 years, seeking others to commiserate with her in their crimes of betrayal and cowardice. Melmoth is always in the shadows, her black shroud dripping on the cobblestones, her bloody feet leaving streaks on the floor. The imagery is eerie and those who see her suffer from their guilt. Melmoth is interspersed with a series of vignettes of the Witness’s encounters throughout history, each story coming together in a powerful denouement. The story follows Helen Franklin, a lonely translator in Prague, who falls prey to the lure of the Melmoth legend after her friend Karel disappears. Helen investigates Karel’s Melmoth documents and realizes her connection to the legend is far stronger than she realized. This novel capitalizes on the fears of the guilty, their foreboding anxiety of being discovered, and the realization that there is no way out. This is a solid follow-up to Perry’s debut, The Essex Serpent. I look forward to reading her next one!Many thanks to Custom House (HarperCollins) and Edelweiss for the advance copy in exchange for my review.