Titus Groan

Titus Groan

Book - 1982
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As the novel opens, Titus, heir to LordSepulchrave, has just been born. He stands to inherit the miles of ramblingstone and mortar that form Gormenghast Castle. Inside, all events arepredetermined by a complex ritual whose origins are lost in history and thecastle is peopled by dark characters in half-lit corridors. Dreamlike andmacabre, Peake's extraordinary novel is one of the most astonishing andfantastic works in modern English fiction.
Publisher: Woodstock, N.Y. : Overlook Press, 1982, c1968.
ISBN: 9780879511432
0879511435
Branch Call Number: LPLD870914174156
Characteristics: 505 p., [6] leaves of plates :,ill. ;,23 cm. --

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forbesrachel Jan 01, 2014

Enter into Gormenghast, a richly detailed and self-contained world, where the lives of its residents are dictated by and odd sense of decorum and routine. At the start, as we pass from place to place so to are we introduced to the next character. In every instance, a full look into the lives of the otherwise barely mentioned staff is given. Everything they do is regulated to to the point that they are dominated by their given task; they live a life of utter stability, but living is not really what they do. This is most exemplified by Lord Sepulchrave himself, whose melancholy nature is his defining quality. Each character's name reflects on their personality too. The author especially has fun with the name of Sepulchrave, being based on a sepulchre, he describes his personality, his fate, yet ironically not his physical final destination, just a metaphorical one. Another example is the cook Swelter, yet rather than portraying who he is, it refers more to his outward description. Details like this are hidden throughout, and exaggerated and lengthy metaphors dominate the majority of the book. Although consequently it is this quality which prevents events from happening in a timely manner, it is also this quality which allows for the book's very visual sense of humour. It is an odd type, more intellectual in some ways, but namely based on how clearly the scene is described, and the unusual behaviours of its characters. When speaking to others, there is a stage-like quality to their words, with things often repeated, and seemingly said in a loud voice. Everything that is spoken only emphasizes the quality of the character, and is not often used to push the story forward. Gormenghast, both the building and its inhabitants, are a single entity. A beast that is both strange, archaic, and dying from its own inability to handle change. This change comes in the form of the clever, sneaky, and ruthlessly ambitious Steerpike. It is he that is most prominent, and it is his machinations that allow for the pace of the book to pick up halfway through. Oddly enough the titular Titus Groan appears infrequently throughout the whole of the first volume. If you dislike descriptive text, this book will test your patience, but for those that push through, you will be rewarded, for few so thoroughly fill their world, and have such mastery of the English language.

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Iowakid
Jun 25, 2012

I loved the language of this book. Every character had their little quirks, and the House of Gormenghast must be like a castle, with every room with a different name and function. It took longer then most books to read, I read a few others in between as it was heavy. But it was well worth it.

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Iowakid
Jun 25, 2012

As pirates in the hot brine-shallows wading, make, face to face, their comber-hindered lunges, sun-blind, fly-agonied, and browed with pearls, so here the timbers leaned, moonlight misled and the rank webs impeded. It was necessary to ignore them-to ignore them as they tickled the face and fastened themselves about the mouth and eyes. To realize that although between the sword and the hand, the hand and the elbow, the elbow and the body, the slivery webs hung like tropical festoons, and although the naked steel was as though delivered in its caul, that the limbs were free to move, as free as ever before. The speed of the swung cleaver woud in no way be retarded. The secret was to ignore.

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