Unsettling, yet oddly captivating, After Me Comes The Flood meanders through the story of John Coles: an unassuming bookseller who stumbles across an unusual house on his way to visit his brother. The house feels almost haunted, as its inhabitants seem ethereal and the house feels like it’s a different world. We begin to question what is reality and what is illusion, as John is worryingly welcomed with open arms, as if he’s been expected.
And so begins one of the most unusual novels I have ever read. We begin to learn about the house’s inhabitants. Hester is the matriarch and head of the household and Elijah is a priest who has lost his faith in God. Eve and Alex are both troubled in their own ways, whilst Clare and Walker seem to be along for the ride. We see many subplots and other stories weaved into the main narrative, as John meets and interacts with all the inhabitants of this weird house.
Themes of faith, identity, instability, corruption and destruction drive the novel forward and water is unsurprisingly a prevalent theme. Music and prayer are also common images over the course of the novel and the story almost lilts along, as if the narrative has a mind of its own. I loved the dreamlike nature of the book and Sarah Perry’s style of writing is absolutely sublime. It is unsurprising that her debut and follow up, The Essex Serpent, have been so lauded by critics.
The novel is undeniably unusual and may not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, I really found the book fascinating. Things were insinuated rather than stated and the dreamlike nature of the narrative was oddly captivating. The novel didn’t actually contain any explicit supernatural elements, but the novel was eerie and unsettling. There was a haunted, otherworldly element to the house, which felt isolated and the unclear end adds to the element of mystique. An unusual yet unique debut from an author who should have an incredibly successful career ahead of her.
My song choice for this post is “Weird People” by Little Mix. Hope you enjoy 🙂