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After Me Comes the Flood (2014)

by Sarah Perry

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2792482,687 (2.87)21
"A beautiful, dream-like, unsettling narrative in which every word, like a small jewel, feels carefully chosen, considered and placed. Rarely do debut novels come as assured and impressive as this one." --Sarah Waters, New York Times bestselling author of The Paying Guests Elegant, sinister and psychologically complex, After Me Comes the Flood is the haunting debut novel by the bestselling author of The Essex Serpent and Melmoth. One hot summer's day, John Cole decides to shut his bookshop early, and possibly forever, and drives out of London to see his brother. When his car breaks down on an isolated road, he goes looking for help and finds a dilapidated house. As he approaches, a laughing woman he's never seen before walks out, addresses him by name and explains she's been waiting for him. Entering the home, John discovers an enigmatic clan of residents all of whom seem to know who he is, and also claim they have been awaiting his arrival. They seem to be waiting for something else, too--something final... Written before Sarah Perry's ascension to an internationally bestselling author, After Me Comes the Flood is a spectacular novel of obsession, conviction and providence. … (more)
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» See also 21 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
A mixed bag. Bits of it are very good indeed, there are some fine ideas and some lovely writing going on here. There is a clear attempt to build up the tension throughout the story, and the final denouement scene is wonderfully dramatic. BUT! Whilst perhaps the theme of the story might be 'we're all mad to someone else' it's kind of othering, as if there are mentally ill people and there are normal people and sometimes people from one category slip into the other without anyone noticing. I dunno, maybe I'm biased but my condition isn't a kooky plot point. The characterisation isn't always great. Aside from the narrator all the others are kind of ciphers. John never really investigates them, and as a consequence we don't really understand their motivations or see them as whole entire people. But there's part of a great piece in here, and I would definitely read another of her novels. ( )
  elahrairah | May 27, 2022 |
Debut novel and first novel by this author for me. Read for Random category (rain) and because it was available through Hoopla. This is the story of a man who closes up his shop with intent of visiting his brother and no specific plans beyond that. On his way, he gets lost or at least ends up at this place where things are dream like and characters all seem to be psychologically damaged in some way and their relationship to each other is not clear. It is noted that the land is under a draught. As often is the case, the coming of rain/storm can symbolize unhappiness, foreboding, renewal, cleansing, introspection, and determination. The title comes from the French and is attributed to King Louis XV. He meant that there would be disaster and chaos after he was gone. You'll have to read it to decide what the rain as plot device meant or maybe it meant many things for the various characters. Rating 3.3 ( )
  Kristelh | Apr 11, 2022 |
I picked Sarah Perry's first book up on a whim because I've really enjoyed her other two. This was also good and in the same vein, with a gothic, mysterious feel. A man leaves his bookstore rather dramatically to visit his brother and on the way becomes ill and his car breaks down. He ends up stumbling upon an old house where he is welcomed by name, though he knows no one there and doesn't know how they know him. The inhabitants are all a little off, and it is slowly revealed where he has ended up and the back story.

I liked this and saw a lot of promise in it, but the plot seemed like it would have been better suited to a short story. It lost some of the creepiness and suspense of the first section as the book went along. Fans of Sarah Perry might like this to see how she's developed as a writer, but I'd recommend The Essex Serpent as the better book and better starting place. ( )
  japaul22 | Apr 5, 2022 |
This book will stay with me for a long time. Beautifully written, the viewpoint is mostly inside the head of the narrator, who arrives ill and confused at a house containing people who seem close but not related. He decides (or rather doesn't decide) to pretend to be the visitor they were waiting for, as they are kind and he clearly needs a place to be. The book's descriptions are so intimate, and the relationships so clearly shown that it's like the reader is also an unexpected visitor who's decided to stay. ( )
  lisamlane | Mar 20, 2022 |
DNF. Sad because I loved The Essex Serpent. I got half way through this and I couldn't care less about the characters - who are all mentally ill aside from the painfully boring narrator/protagonist. I mention the mental illness because typically that enough would interest me enough to stick with a book. This is the first time I've put a book down since 2018. It's not a horrible book by any standard I just don't have the patience to stick with it at the moment. Sorry Sarah. ( )
  rosscharles | May 19, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sarah Perryprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dyer, PeterDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Who makes one little room an everywhere

And for Jenny
Who was always on my side.
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I'm writing this in a stranger's room on a broken chair at an old school desk.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"A beautiful, dream-like, unsettling narrative in which every word, like a small jewel, feels carefully chosen, considered and placed. Rarely do debut novels come as assured and impressive as this one." --Sarah Waters, New York Times bestselling author of The Paying Guests Elegant, sinister and psychologically complex, After Me Comes the Flood is the haunting debut novel by the bestselling author of The Essex Serpent and Melmoth. One hot summer's day, John Cole decides to shut his bookshop early, and possibly forever, and drives out of London to see his brother. When his car breaks down on an isolated road, he goes looking for help and finds a dilapidated house. As he approaches, a laughing woman he's never seen before walks out, addresses him by name and explains she's been waiting for him. Entering the home, John discovers an enigmatic clan of residents all of whom seem to know who he is, and also claim they have been awaiting his arrival. They seem to be waiting for something else, too--something final... Written before Sarah Perry's ascension to an internationally bestselling author, After Me Comes the Flood is a spectacular novel of obsession, conviction and providence. 

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Book description
One hot summer's day, John Cole decides to leave his life behind.
Haiku summary
A broken-down car

Leads to a cheap holiday
Who's the real nutter?
(elahrairah)

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