Posted by: gillarbuthnott | August 28, 2016

A touch of Gothic.

Well, yesterday turned out to be Gothic Saturday at the Book Festival, or at least, the events I listened to did.

Image result for victorian post mortem photographyFirst were Francis Hardinge and Sarah Perry, talking about, respectively, The Lie Tree and The Essex Serpent. Both feature isolated communities and living organisms that shouldn’t exist, and are set at points in the Victorian era when faith and science keep colliding. Most gothicky (I know it’s not a real word, but it needs to be) in this event was the discussion of Victorian post-mortem photography. Above is one of the less gruesome examples; go cautiously if you look up more on Google.

But that was as nothing compared to the event in which Marcus Sedgewick (Mister Memory) and Alice Thompson (The Book Collector) ended up discussing madness, incarceration, and books bound with human skin. I am going nowhere near Google with that one…

Seriously however, all the books sound darkly fascinating, and I am certainly adding them to my reading list.



  1. I spotted you in the audience of Frances Hardinge and Sarah Perry event. I loved The Lie Tree – a book I will definitely re-read – and The Essex Serpent sounded so good I bought a copy. I thought it was a fantastic event. Intriguing and thought-provoking and really well chaired.

  2. Wasn’t it? and Sarah Perry’s life story is so fascinating too.

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