by Sarah Perry.
Should have realized after reading Perry’s Essex Serpent that this would be another unscary Halloween story. Melmoth, the old witness who sees all of our bad deeds, is a witchy figure dressed in black. She lurks everywhere. The one who denied seeing Jesus rise from the dead. She’s the lore of many countries told to little children by their sadistic parents. Guilt. Shame. Conscience. She follows them through life.
Spooky? No. For such a horrible portent, the stories told through letters and documents and by Helen, a sad sack of a woman, are lukewarm.
Hoffman, a nasty amoral boy living in Prague, during WWII, comes to life and his sins are truly awful. He becomes a Nazi sympathizer, read coward, and turns in his own neighbors. That piece is well done. The rest just depressing.