by Sarah Perry | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1788160673 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Apechild of York, North Yorkshire United Kingdom on 8/1/2022
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This book is in a Controlled Release! This book is in a Controlled Release!
1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Apechild from York, North Yorkshire United Kingdom on Monday, August 1, 2022
Bought in the Herriot Hospice charity shop in Thirsk.

Journal Entry 2 by Apechild at York, North Yorkshire United Kingdom on Friday, December 16, 2022
Bit dark, brooding and creepy tale, which is really a collection of similiarly tragic and awful stories mingled into the main character's tale of woe. I think I'm going to have to shelve Perry with Kate Atkinson: good writer, subjects and tales that appeal and yet I just don't gel with them. Can't love them all I guess.

Our main character, Helen, is a forty-something English woman living in Prague and seems to be in the self-denial and self-pity thing to such an extent that she is a character without any personality or anything about her. She is friends with Czech academic, Karel, and his English ex-lawyer partner Thea. Karel introduces Helen to documents, eye witness accounts of the ultimate eye witness, Melmoth. A biblical, folkloric figure of the denying woman condemned to wander the earth for eternity with her bleeding feet, paying witness to everybody's bad behaviour, and when they're at their lowest, offering them escape to come wander with her. Karel thinks he's been stalked by Melmoth, and after reading the documents, so does Helen. And in Helen's case, as it turns out, she has a "past".

So, the other accounts are miserable stories of inhuman or cowardly behaviour with some depressing twists of fate. Czechoslovakia, as was then, through the second world war, Turkey before the world wars, and treatment of the Jews, then the ethnic Germans in Prague, of the Armenians in Turkey... Helen becomes haunted by these stories, followed around by all the miserable protagonists in the stories, making me wonder for a time if she was meant to be Melmoth, only she didn't know it.

Quite liked reading about Prague; it brought back memories of a trip there a few years ago. The world war and the turkish accounts were good if depressing. As was the modern story, and to be fair the Phillipine story, although I never took to Helen. It's been an interesting ride, but a book I don't think I'd return to.

Minor quibble now, not just of this book but many books published these days. Reviews in newspapers and magazines are great. Interesting to read in fullness, they've tipped me off on new books I'd like to read many a time. But endless quotes all over a book about how flipping marvellous it reckons it is? This is getting tiresome. The front cover quotation reckons "One of the great achievements of our century." Oh please, give it a rest. No one book can claim that. And the first two pages of my copy are very fine, nice thick cardboard. Covered in quotes from various papers and "famous folk". It goes on and on. It's as if all of this takes precedent over the book itself. Why do you need to try and convince me that much before I've even started it? The only time I've ever appreciated such quotes and so-called endorsements was in Iain Banks The Wasp Factory. He had pages of lengthy quotes from reviews and anyone who's read the book will appreciate just why that was so marvellous in that case. Otherwise I find this current trend in publishing a tad irritating.

Journal Entry 3 by Apechild at Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom on Friday, February 3, 2023

Released 3 mos ago (2/3/2023 UTC) at Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom


Posting up to a bookmoocher in the lovely city of Edinburgh.

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