Friday FriYay: 'Melmoth' by Sarah Perry
Oh friend, take my hand - I've been so lonely!
One winter night in Prague, Helen Franklin encounters her friend Karel, half-mad with fear.
He has come into possession of a mysterious old manuscript, filled with testimonies that speak to Helen from 17th-century England, wartime Czechoslovakia, the sweat-soaked streets of Manila and 1920's Turkey. All of them tell of being followed by a tall, silent woman in black, bearing a terrible message.
Helen reads its contents with intrigue, but everything in her life is about to change.
On Fridays we go to Book Beginnings at Rose City Reader, hosted by Gilion Dumas, and Friday 56 at Freda's Voice, hosted by Freda. I'll also be joining the Book Blog Hop, hosted by Charlie over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer.
"J.A. Hoffmanc/o The National Library of the Czech Republic
My dear Dr 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!" p.1
I'd say this is technically something of a prologue, with Part 1 starting on the next page, but I love the official feel of it. Any book that starts with a letter hinting at something horrible is a win in my... book.
"She never intended this - cannot recall, when plotting how to expiate her guilt, how best to achieve redemption; does not remember having said: 'I will take no joy in food, merely let myself live.'" p.56
I'm fascinated by this sentence, the way it runs on and stop, then continues. It's almost as if the dash, commas, semi-colon and colons are following the action of the silent woman mentioned in the blurb. It reads like a never-ending thought, something that keeps going. I might be reading into this too much but now I can't wait to get started with this book!
Today's Book Blog Hop question, submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews, is:
Do you share books? If so, do you have a system to keep track of whom you lend books to?
Absolutely, yes! Technically I'm utterly possessive of my books, like a pacifist dragon with their hoard. But there is nothing I love more than shoving a book into someone's hand and see them come back a few days later, eyes bright, full of questions and comments and thoughts. My favourite story of this is probably my experience with Normal People by Sally Rooney. We were going to read it for a book club at work, when I still lived in Shanghai, and I was bowled over by how much I loved it. So I had a colleague read it, who was skeptical but very open. He loved it. From there it spread. I asked each of them to write their names in the book, almost like an impromptu library loan list, and I have about ten names in there at the moment. I love that this book is now a physical reminder of how we all came together over this story and discussed it.
I don't really have a system for lending or keeping track of books, since usually everyone is pretty good about getting the books back to me. And I know what it's like to have a book right there and yet not get around to reading it, so I also don't tend to push those who've borrowed them. Get it back to me when you can! (This is why I only loan out books I have already read though!) I also don't have a lot of other rules, since I'm not the biggest fan of keeping my books pristine. I like it when books look loved.
What are you reading? And can you stomach parting with your books?