The Modern Gothic Novel

The Gothic Novel genre is a unique one, dictated as much by the feeling it invokes as any particular subject. A quick search for a definition will most likely bring you to something like - “an English genre of fiction popular in the 18th to early 19th centuries, characterized by an atmosphere of mystery and horror and having a pseudo-medieval setting.” I would say the horror is usually more than subtle, suspenseful kind that sets the hairs on the back of your neck upright and makes you just a little afraid of the dark for a while after reading. And there have been a couple of recently published stand-outs of the genre that I can highly recommend you read -


Melmoth by Sarah Perry - 9780062856395 - $27.99

Melmoth is a novel that is best read in one sitting (and believe me you’ll want to) as the narrative builds and slowly reveals itself to you in the most tantalizing way. Melmoth is a soul that has been condemned to walk the earth in the shadows, who must help suffering people cross over to death, although she herself cannot. Inspired by Charles Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer gothic novel from 1820, Perry has created a modern gothic masterpiece that was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Literary Prize. I can’t recommend this one enough. A fairly short read at 288 pages, it will stay with you after you’ve finished it. Check out all the praise for this novel here.


The Binding by Bridget Collins - 9780062838094 - $26.99

Another fabulous literary gothic novel that I just loved and could not put down was The Binding by Bridget Collins. What a masterly piece of storytelling, and ultimately epic love story, in the most immersive, darkly atmospheric world I’ve had the pleasure to fall into for quite a while. Some people are born to become Binders, a gifted profession that allows the Binder to take memories that people want to forget and bind them into a book over which they safeguard. A gift that perhaps you may not want, but one that cannot be denied or returned, and one that can be exercised with compassion and dignity, or can be turned into something more unsavory. At 448 pages this one will keep you occupied much longer but don’t expect that it will be easy to put this down though, as I could not rip myself away from this extraordinary novel either. Spellbinding indeed!

Click here to read more praise for this novel.

Please consider these other Modern Gothic Novels to add to your to-read list -

- Becky Doherty


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