There is something immediately nauseating – hear me out- about this book. You can be nauseous when you feel ill, when you ride a roller coaster, when you are nervous, or when you eat too many sweets. There is a feeling of hopeful dread that climbs over you (and all of the characters within) before you have finished reading the first page. There is a feeling that you have been here – in a cafe in Prague, under an overpass in Manila, in a field on a river on the edges of Bohemia- and that you have heard these stories before…but I assure you, you have not. Melmoth (the idea, the novel, the woman) is a creation of the imagination. It draws from Slavic folklore, biblical mythology, Czech opera, and whatever boogeyman stories you were told as a child. Upon finishing this tale, which was read with a frantic pace in a day’s sitting, I had to draw the bedroom shades, close the door, and block out any light that may cause the appearance of a rustling shadow in the bedroom. It took too long to fall asleep. My husband found this scene ridiculous, as I would have as well, had I not been absolutely haunted by this book and the creatures and characters within.
A document is passed from one person to another. They are quickly made believers of the woman, the creature, the presence of Melmoth. Narrators move fluidly throughout time and country. I cannot tell you more as I do not want to spoil a moment of this book. I adored it and it terrified me.