After Me Comes the Flood - Sarah Perry

Genre: Fiction
Synopsis: One hot summer's day, John Cole decides to leave his life behind. He shuts up the bookshop no one ever comes to and drives out of London. When his car breaks down and he becomes lost on an isolated road, he goes looking for help, and stumbles into the grounds of a grand but dilapidated house. Its residents welcome him with open arms - but there's more to this strange community than meets the eye. They all know him by name, they've prepared a room for him, and claim to have been waiting for him all along. As nights and days pass John finds himself drawn into a baffling menagerie. And what do they intend for John?


Review: Wow, I did not like this book. Before I get into it, let me say I loved The Essex Serpent, I thought it was beautifully written (though, unlike others, I did think some of the writing was decorative), and while I didn't think the plot lived up to its full potential, or that the connection between the two main characters was particularly moving or even well-founded, I did thoroughly, thoroughly enjoy reading the book. After Me Comes the Flood came before TES, and while Perry must be credited for the serious advance in quality between the two novels - every criticism I have of TES is present in AMCTF, and everything I liked is missing.

In other words, AMCTF consists of dull, flat characters doing basically nothing, described in somewhat decorative writing which simply adds to the tedium of trying to get through this mindnumbing borefest. I saw a lot of reviews on Goodreads which described it as rubbish, or readable but pointless, and I was misled by my enjoyment of TES into thinking maybe they were wrong. They weren't. Don't waste your time. It's not badly written, it's just nice writing about absolutely nothing. Spoiler: The menagerie intend nothing for John. Literally, nothing.

It's possible there's some big allegory I'm missing - there are some biblical/religious references, and I've seen it mentioned that the author had a religious upbringing, but I honestly doubt even that could make this book worthwhile. Go read The Essex Serpent instead, that book is great.

Rating: 1/5

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