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Titus Alone (Book three of Gormenghast Trilogy) Paperback – March 25, 2008
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"Suns and the changing of the seasonal moons; the leaves from trees that cannot keep their leaves, and the fish from olive waters have their voices! ... Stones have their voices and the quills of birds; the anger of the thorns, the wounded spirits, the antlers, ribs that curve, bread, tears and needles. Blunt boulders and the silence of cold marshes -- these have their voices -- the insurgent clouds, the cockerel and the worm. ... Voices that grind at night from lungs of granite. Lungs of blue air and the white lungs of rivers. All voices haunt all moments of all days; all voices fill the crannies of all regions."
If you find this sort of thing boring, by all means skip this book. This has almost nothing to do with either Tolkien or his less skilled successors who churn out a 500-page volume every six months. I think it has more in common with a book like Moby Dick (which I have been advised not to read until I reach forty years of age), in that it demands that the reader relate the text to his own experience of life and literature.
Many of the characters are grotesque parodies, but as with other masters of satire, Peake's exaggeration rings truer to life than a more "realistic" depiction would.Read more ›
The plot chronicles the ramifications of when the royal family and servants encounter Steerpike, a young kitchen worker who finagles his out of kitchen service (most jobs in the castle are assigned along heriditary lines). A self-possessed rebel and clever 17-year-old, Steerpike turns their world upside down. Steerpike is like many people you may know, manipulative, self-serving, and solicitous. However, the royal family and servants are so exceedingly self-occupied, that they are easily tricked by this young upstart. Steerpike may just be the most likeable villian ever; it's hard to blame him for the things he does considering the easy targets he selects.
The book is packed with other extremely memorable characters, including the sullen royal daughter (Fuschia), the Countess who seems to care only about her "pets," innumerable wild birds and and white cats, and her sisters-in-law, the identical twins (Cora and Clarice) who are the primary pawns of Steerpike. The book also provides splendid details about the castles and its world, not surprising considering that Peake is perhaps best known as an illustrator (a few of his illustrations are included here). The writing is dense and ponderous at times, but provides so many laughs and pleasures, that it is well worth the time investment. Of course, Titus Groan is just the first part of an epic. I have not read the remaining two books yet, but am tremendously excited to do. A most highly recommended read.
1) Which description do you prefer?
A - Making use of the miniature and fluted precipice of hard, white discoloured flesh, where Fuchsia's teeth had left their parallel grooves, he bit greedily, his top teeth severing the wrinkled skin of the pear, and the teeth of his lower jaw entering the pale cliff about halfway up its face; they met in the secret and dark centre of the fruit - in that abactinal region where, since the petals of the pear flower had been scattered in some far June breeze, a stealthy and profound maturing had progressed by day and night. As he bit, for the second time, into the fruit his weakness filled him again as with a thin atmosphere, and he carefully lowered himself face down over the table until he had recovered strength to continue his clandestine meal. (+50 Points)
B - Steelpike bit into Fuchsia's pear. It was yummy. (0 Points)
2) For every one of these words that you know, give yourself 5 points.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have always wanted to read the Gormenghast trilogy, but after slogging my way through the first book, I don't know if I can do it. Read morePublished 15 days ago by david bryan crelia
If my memories of "Gormenghast" were vague and incomplete, those of "Titus Alone" were practically nonexistent. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Dan'l Danehy-Oakes
I had read a third of the book before the “aha” moment – when I grasped what was going on. I had assumed that I was reading a puzzling, strangely over-written, saga of an ancient... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Albert
Bizarre cast of characters inhabit an even more bizarre castle somewhere and devolve into jealousy, arson, hatchet murders, ritual and manipulation. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Linda Jacobs
This trilogy is made up of the only books in the world, I know of, that I can not only read more than once, but can read endlessly without break. Read morePublished 9 months ago by S. Saavedra
Mervyn Peake's "Titus Groan" is among the most unique works in the annals of fantasy fiction. It is not a book for a reader looking for a fast paced adventure or a tightly plotted... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Gary Battershell
It took me more than 30 years to read this book. After originally abandoning it a few chapters in, I nearly gave up at the same point. Read morePublished 14 months ago by D. Morris
This first book of a trilogy requires the reader to suspend themselves in a work of fiction that expends the notion of eccentric families and claustrophobic surroundings. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Michael St.B. Harrison