The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

Beautiful writing. Interesting story. Thought-provoking. I simply didn’t connect.

Cora, her companion Martha and Cora’s odd son Francis go to Essex after Cora’s husband’s death. There Cora meets Will – a happily married parson. And then things get weird between Cora and Will. And Martha and Cora. And Cora and her friend Luke. And basically everyone.

The story lingers in the unspoken. Understated. Lovely and drifting and smooth. Nothing jarred.

I didn’t get sucked in. The story remained academic and distant and pretty. Something soft and abstract. I have been reading some ludicrous, dramatic, heavy-handed nonsense. A recent book was so bad I compared it to “literary MST3K.” I thought my eyes might get stuck rolled back in my head. But say what you will about loathing and mockery – at least they’re a spark – a reaction. In reading this the prevalent thought was “this is pretty” and no stronger emotion was stirred.


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