Sarah Perry’s Essex Serpent is a bizarre tale. It’s bizarre not because of its serpentine mystery, but because it’s a good novel when everything about it would say otherwise.
You couldn’t say that Essex Serpent is historical fiction or mystery or thriller, nor does it have a Victorian pastiche or the effervescent pall of fantasy about it. Or it does, but not quite. It’s a curious novel but one clearly meant for the present day, the present year, a sort of amalgamation of past place and present principle. It’s odd. Continue reading