Happy Wednesday dear book friends. Wishing you a day of happiness and sunshine.
Monsters are not always the ones hidden in your closet or under your bed. They can be as real as your mind and heart can imagine and in the book we confront a monster of old folklore, a monster that perhaps dwells in each of us, in our conscience and mind, one that follows us wherever we go.
Helen Franklin is about to meet a monster of old folklore. She embarks on a journey of a Gothic nature from first reading of a document left by a man called Hoffman to Karel a man who has asked her to read this document. She finds letters, narratives and journals that describe Melmoth, a creature destined to never die, a creature that follows others and frightens them. Legend has it that Melmoth, present and being a witness to the the arisen Christ, denies what she has seen. As her punishment, she is destined to roam the earth alone for eternity.
Living in Prague at the time, Helen confronts the monster who appears as a woman shrouded in black as she follows a person or appears as a light touch to one’s neck. Is Melmoth a true monster or is she really what one’s conscience bears, the things one has done for which there is shame and guilt? Can restitution be made and will the guilt that shadows one’s mind be allowed to drift away and see a better time or will Melmoth haunt them until their end of days?
This was a mesmerizing tale, one that took on the mystical, the dark and brooding sense of a doomed person. Helen becomes us as we try to reflect on our lives and things that we have done for which there might be shame and regret. As the author reveals her characters, we see the depressing essence of our human nature, and the fact that perhaps some things can never be forgiven if we can’t at least forgive ourselves. For surely our conscience, our Melmoth, will always be with us just as Melmoth will always be with the world in which we dwell.
This book is somewhat plodding at times, a bit repetitive but a true look into the mind and heart of those who walk the earth. Can forgiveness be mine or am I destined to always be ashamed and fearful of what I have done?
Perry was born in Chelmsford, Essex into a family of devout Christians who were members of a Strict Baptist church, Perry grew up with almost no access to contemporary art, culture, and writing. She filled her time with classical music, classic novels and poetry, and church-related activities. She says this early immersion in old literature and the King James Bible profoundly influenced her writing style.
She has a PhD in creative writing from Royal Holloway University where her supervisor was Sir Andrew Motion. Her doctoral thesis was on the Gothic in the writing of Iris Murdoch, and Perry has subsequently published an article on the Gothic in Aeon magazine. (from wikipedia)