[PDF / Epub] ✎ Titus Groan / Gormenghast / Titus Alone ☂ Mervyn Peake – Batdongsanhoian.co
Lady Gertrude Groane, by Braen on DeviantArtCome, oh, come, my own my Only Through the Gormenghast of Groan.Lingering has become so lonelyAs I linger all alone p.99 Ah, Gormenghast I have only got through Titus Groan, so far, which is the first book of the trilogy Here is the blurb for that part of the trilogy, for anyone not familiar with itTitus Groan starts with the birth and ends with the first birthday celebrations of the heir to the grand, tradition bound castle of Gormenghast A grand miasma of doom and foreboding weaves over the sterile rituals of the castle Villainous Steerpike seeks to exploit the gaps between the formal rituals and the emotional needs of the ruling family for his own profit Initially, I was not enjoying the book I am not sure if this was due to listening to an audio version, which sometimes works for me and sometimes not, or something else, but mostly, I believe that it was the loathing and malice of the characters towards one another that put me off Early on in the story, there seemed not to be a single ray of mercy, kindness, love, or hope breaking through the grim darkness I set it aside thinking I might try again later when not in midwinter.In the meantime, I ordered this grand illustrated hardcover After receiving it and noticing its beauty, I could not wait to resume the story Alas, Keda entered the picture not long after the point where I d left off Keda is selected by Nanny to be the nursemaid of Baby Titus, so I could stop worrying that he would be dropped on the stone floor of the castle again, only to have his parents and most of the other adults in the room stare with indifference at his crying Disclosure I worked for a long time with abused and traumatised children so I have no sense of humour when it comes to hurting them, whether they are real or imagined From this point on, I was able to enter into the spirit of the novel.Once you get lost as a watcher and wanderer in the vast and dripping halls of Gormenghast, there really is nothing like it Perhaps if Dickens had grown up in a haunted castle set in an imaginary land, and co authored his books with Lewis Carroll, they might have given birth to something similar There are similarities, to be sure, in Dickens genius for soap opera, Carroll s brilliance for turning everything topsy turvy, and Peake s remarkable creative vision But I don t want to go among mad people, Alice remarked Oh, you can t help that, said the Cat we re all mad here I m mad You re mad How do you know I m mad said Alice You must be, said the Cat, or you wouldn t have come here Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland As in Wonderland, so in Gormenghast If you find yourself in the company of the Groans, you are no doubt at least a bit mad Nevertheless, after resuming the book, I began to feel connected to several of the characters and concerned for their well being Fuchsia, Keda, Titus, and Nanny, especially But also, I found that the funny bits are really hilarious I cannot get enough of Cora and Clarice Groan A scene that made me laugh aloud is when the twins are dressed up for Titus birthday breakfast and using one another as a mirror There is another silence Their voices have been so flat and expressionless that when they cease talking the silence seems no new thing in the room, but rather a continuation of flatness in another colour Turn your head now, Cora When I m looked at at the Breakfast I want to know how they see me from the side and what exactly they are looking at so turn your head for me and I will for you afterwards Cora twists her white neck to the left More, says Clarice More what I can still see your other eye Cora twists her head a fraction , dislodging some of her powder from her neck That s right, Cora Stay like that Just like that Oh, Cora the voice is still as flat , I am perfect She claps her hands mirthlessly, and even her palms meet with a dead sound p.276 Dr Prunesquallor, it must be said, is also hilarious, and I am endlessly fascinated by Lady Gertrude, with her cats and birds Since I have a cat and bird obsession myself, I think she touches some dark part of me that lives in a tower in a semi feral state, sporting outrageous piles of hair and billowing garments covered in candle wax Update on 30 July 2017 I keep reflecting on the soliloquies and silent reflections of Lord Groan, and I believe that these remind me most of Shakespeare s tragic kings, especially Lear This book is a uniquely strange brew of hilarity and sorrow There is a particularly poetic speech by Lord Groan, who utters it near his sleeping daughter s door whilst in a somnambulist s dream himself, that is immediately followed by a long scene of horrific violence between the grotesque cook, Swelter, and Lord Groan s valet, the angular and spiky Flay Horrific, yes, but I could also imagine the Monty Python troupe, in its halcyon days, carrying off this sprawling fight to the death with unparalleled gore and glee So, if I have already said that this book is something like the love child of Dickens and Carroll, I would have to toss in Shakespeare and Monty Python, for good measure, and conclude too that some of the poetry had been inspired by Poe Really, though, Peake s writing, taken as a whole, can only be likened to itself Utterly enchanting, outrageously funny, and brimming with pathos.To follow, for your reading pleasure and mine, is Lord Groan s gorgeous soliloquy that I ve mentioned above, which he utters in his sleep while Flay and Swelter stalk each other and try not to wake him Lord Groan, having lost his great library his sole passion and reason for living in a fire, is saying these words outside the bedroom door of his daughter, Fuchsia The loss of his library has pushed him from melancholy to madness so that he believes himself to be not a Lord, but one of the bloodthirsty Gormenghast owls He is saying goodbye and taking himself off to the tower where the owls are known to gather, to offer himself in sacrifice Perhaps this should read as a parody of Shakespeare but it doesn t because it is genuinely sorrowful and too lovely by half to be a parody When one reads it, in context, it is not at all funny but only tragic As Flay reached the last step he saw that the Earl had stopped and that inevitably the great volume of snail flesh had come to a halt behind him.It was so gentle that it seemed as though a voice were evolving from the half light a voice of unutterable mournfulness The lamp in the shadowy hand was failing for lack of oil The eyes stared through Mr Flay and through the dark wall beyond and on and on through a world of endless rain Goodbye, said the voice It is all one Why break the heart that never beat from love We do not know, sweet girl the arras hangs it is so far so far away, dark daughter Ah no not that long shelf not that long shelf it is his life s work that the fires are eating All s one Good byegood bye The Earl Climbed a further step upwards His eyes had becomecircular But they will take me in Their home is cold but they will take me in And it may be their tower is lined with love each flint a cold blue stanza of delight, each feather, terrible quills, ink and flax, each talon, glory His accents were infinitely melancholy as he whispered Blood, blood, and blood and blood for you, the muffled, all, all for you and I am on my way, with broken branches She was not mine Her hair as red as ferns She was not mine Mice, mice the towers crumble flames are swarmers There is no swarmer like the nimble flame and all is over Good byeGood bye It is all one, for ever, ice and fever Oh, weariest lover it will not come again Be quiet now Hush, then, and do your will The moon is always and you will find them at the mouths of warrens Great wings shall come, great silent, silent wingsGood bye All s one All s one All s one pps 307 308 I owe it to the excellent reviews by friends on Goodreads that, firstly, I heard about Mervyn Peake and Gormenghast and, secondly, that I stuck with it long enough for its magical genius to reveal itself to me A fantastic literary masterpiece Note This review will be ongoing, updated from time to time as I read my way through the trilogy Lady Gertrude Groan, by Mervyn Peake Ladies Cora and Clarice Groan, by Mervyn Peake Lady Fuchsia Groan, by Mervyn Peake As it happened I read this in three separate volumes I wouldn t recommend going for a one volume edition unless you have very big hands But out of convenience I ll lump them all together in a single review Titus Groan is the first volume of Mervyn Peake s distinctive Gormenghast trilogy The first two volumes of which come across as being strongly inspired by Peake s childhood as a missionary s son in China while the third has the taste of post World War II Europe.The Earls of Groan rule Gormenghast A great crazy twisted pile of rooms, wings, buildings and extensions that towers above a township, rather like a gothic Forbidden City built with unlimited acesss to scaffolding The Earls of Groan seem to be completely isolated from the wider world view spoiler in the second book there are some teachers who appear to have come from somewhere else, but I may be deceiving myself hide spoiler A Doomed Lord, An Emergent Hero, And A Dazzling Array Of Bizarre Creatures Inhabit The Magical World Of The Gormenghast Novels Which, Along With Tolkien S Lord Of The Rings, Reign As One Of The Undisputed Fantasy Classics Of All Time At The Center Of It All Is The Seventy Seventh Earl, Titus Groan, Who Stands To Inherit The Miles Of Rambling Stone And Mortar That Form Gormenghast Castle And Its Kingdom, Unless The Conniving Steerpike, Who Is Determined To Rise Above His Menial Position And Control The House Of Groan, Has His WayIn These Extraordinary Novels, Peake Has Created A World Where All Is Like A Dream Lush, Fantastical, And Vivid Accompanying The Text Are Peake S Own Drawings, Illustrating The Whole Assembly Of Strange And Marvelous Creatures That Inhabit GormenghastAlso Featuring Introductory Essays By Anthony Burgess And Quentin CrispTwelve Critical Essays, Curated By Peake Scholar Peter G WinningtonFragment Of The Unpublished Novel, Titus Awakes Last read by me about a hundred years ago Would this favourite from my youthy youth stand up to mature scrutiny Short answer YES Gormenghast is still wonderful, grotesque, andthan a little outrageous I remembered its many logorrheic delights and here they were, intact spilth, rabous, fumid, lapsury, abactimal, and many other fulminant obscurities were all present and correct and spooled out in sentence upon long, involved sentence But it s not just the words, it s the order he puts em in The reader must be prepared for paragraphs like this Drear ritual turned its wheel The ferment of the heart, within these walls, was mocked by every length of sleeping shadow The passions, no greater than candle flames, flickered in Time s yawn, for Gormenghast, huge and adumbrate, out crumbles all The summer was heavy with a kind of soft grey blue weight in the sky yet not in the sky, for it was as if there were no sky, but only air, an impalpable grey blue substance, drugged with the weight of its own heat and hue You should be warned that although there is a plot, don t read this for the story You will not be happy There s an actual fight at one exciting point, and it lasts for around 15 pages, because every single thrust and fall is ponderously described, every gout of blood becomes an elaborate three para event Gormenghast is like Edgar Allen Poe but with a very wicked sense of humour, a dash of PG Wodehouse even,than a few crumbs of Dickens of course, and umpteen gallons of Gothic sensibility sloshed in It s seriously unserious.As minutely imagined as the gigantic castle and its inhabitants are, yet still, theI thought about the lives here displayed, the less it all made sense why does no one have any kind of married life Why do the characters live in such solitude How does this vast castle pay for itself Where did Lord Groan s thousands of books come from Is this a Christian universe I spotted one single Christian reference but religion is strictly avoided even throughout such things as christenings and funerals But I guess it s better not to ask fantasy to behave like reality So I stopped being bothered by such stuff and let the monstrousness of Gormenghast drown me deliciously in its abactinal spilth. WARNING The posts below are purely fictional They never happened, and were not posted by real people Any similarities to anyone, including myself, are purely your imagination Even the posts posted by real people were not posted by real people Any similarities between this thread and reality are entirely coincidental But, that scary picture of the blond guy crying Oh, that s real That s so sad, and so real. If you re into stuff like this, you can read the full review.Painting in Text The Gormenghast Trilogy by Marvin PeakeI consider it pointless to compare Tolkien and Peake you might as well argue whether Raymond Chandler is better than Ivy Compton Burnett I would only point out, since I believe no one has so far, that in Gormenghast, unlike Middle Earth, Sex exists I also think Peake fits into the Gothic tradition in literature it is surprising that a book containing no magic or mythological creatures or supernatural events is so reflexively categorized as fantasy , but perhaps, without that classification, one would have to consider it sui generis I agree too with the comment about Peake s writing being pictorial at times when reading Titus Groan or Gormenghast, it is like allowing ones eye to wander into a large detailed canvas by Bosch or Breughel, filled with grotesque and amusing details scattered throughout a fantastic landscape. The kingdom of Gormenghast, a kind of gothic medieval fantasy land, is like a giant institution in which everyone, including the ruling class suffers from a sense of oppression One senses Peake has often deployed his memories of public school for inspiration Every character is firmly glued to his or her duties There s little freedom of movement Only two characters actively rebel The malevolent and Machiavellian Steerpike and the young earl, Titus The first thing that got my attention was the quality of writing Peake is a brilliant descriptive writer, especially impressive when it comes to the natural world No surprise he was also an artist The plot takes a while to surface as he provides us with a large cast of characters, all as humorously madcap as the others Think early Evelyn Waugh when he was continually making fun of the teaching profession So, the first two books, extending to 800 odd pages are fabulous Then, apparently, the dementia that would kill Peake began to surface and the third book, only 200 odd pages, suffers as a result The third part is sketchy, lacking in design and artistry, rambling and repetitive I found it difficult to read It s a shame he didn t end it after book two.A unique feature of this book is that it contains sketches by the author of many of his characters I have to say I didn t quite see eye to eye with this feature Picturing characters myself is for me an important part of reading It felt a bit too controlling on the part of the author to deny me this bit of imaginative freedom Rotting shadows and incongruous beams of light are what I remember most from this novel, if you can call it that Incarnation would likely beaccurate Characters are merely spectres generated by the stones of Gormenghast Castle The fragile mind of the author had descended just far enough to see the music in the movements of the grotesque pieces we cannot bring ourselves to look upon Months after reading this, I m still not entirely sure what it is that I took away from Gormenghast The straight answer has to do with what happens when we let the past have absolute rule over the present and the future It ties into the museum cities of Europe, the homesteads of the opening American West It gives us the the various options of what humans can become when they are not allowed to become themselves. A thing of beauty, like the words it contains carefully bound, with sumptuous illustrations I m often wary of pictures in adult books, but Peake was a painter and illustrator as well as a writer, so I make an exception in this case He sketched in the margins of most of his writings, as he wrote Artistic symbiosis Two of my three favourite books, plus a third I ve learned to like, in one volume, with an excellent introduction by China Mieville, and Sebastian Peake s note about the illustrations The content is covered in separate reviews Titus Groan review HERE.Gormenghast review HERE.Titus Alone review HERE.All my Peake Gormenghast reviews including biographies memoirs and books about his art are on a shelf, HERE.Most of the biographical detail is in my review of Winnington s Vast Alchemies, HERE.OverviewPeake planned many Titus books, but managed only these three, plus the short story Boy in Darkness which I reviewed HERE After Titus Groan, he wrote to his wife, Maeve Groan I feel could grow giant, imaginative wings, flare out majestically, ludicrously, fantastically, earthly, gloriously into creation, unlike anything else in English literature. These three books are in many ways uncategorisable often classed as fantasy, the first two have the feel of historical fiction, but with a twist of magical realism But the third volume has futuristic aspects What is perhapssurprising is that in the decades since Titus Groan was first published, there haven t been any successful books in that unique category They are whimsical, detailed, leisurely, poignant, vivid, gothic, caricatures but believable, not surreal Amazingly detailed descriptions, and extraordinarily extended metaphors, especially of characters faces, skin and other physical features and of candles and their drips Not afraid to go off on a lengthy tangent eg when likening the cracks in plaster to an ancient map, he goes on to imagine journeys across such a landscape So, in some ways, quite slow, yet always a page turner Peake is not afraid to kill off numerous significant characters There is an overwhelming sense of place in the first two, but the time period is slippery There is a medieval air swords and feet, not guns an cars , but medicines, safety pins, liqueurs, tea, and celluloid are mentioned However, there is no mention of shops and businesses, news, politics, theatres, concerts, or police no society or institutions other than the castle itself The third book is definitely in the near future floating electronic spying devices and death rays , but there it s the location that is disorientingly elusive and yet vivid Regarding the place, Gormenghast is a central character Maybe the main character even in Titus Alone, which mostly takes place elsewhere And yet although Peake sketched most of the main characters, oftenthan once, and often with great beauty and detail, his illustrations of the castle itself are few and sketchy There are echoes of Dickens characterisation and odd names for people , Kafka insignificant individual subsumed by tradition and procedure also hard to locate the historical period , Tolkien is often mentioned though I can t see much of a similarity Conversely, it is perhaps a minor influence for Paul Stewart s Edge Chronicles for children.Quotes from Titus GroanMy review HERE Peake s sketch of Steerpike and Barquentine Lord Sepulchrave walked with slow strides, his head bowed Fuchsia mouched Doctor Prunesquallor minced The twins propelled themselves forward vacantly Flay spidered his path Swelter wallowed his Swelter s voice is like the warm, sick notes of some prodigious mouldering bell Cracks in the wall A thousand imaginary journeys might be made along the banks of these rivers of an unexplored world A similar idea in Boy in Darkness, when Titus looks at a mildewed spot on the ceiling The Countess s room was untidy to the extent of being a shambles Everything had the appearance of being put aside for the moment His Sourdust face was very lined, as though it had been made of brown paper that had been crunched by some savage hand before being hastily smoothed out and spread over the tissues The Earl s life, and to some extent everyone else s, is governed by detailed and largely pointless arcane ritual The second tome was full of blank pages and was entirely symbolic If, for instance, his Lordship. had been three inches shorter, the costumes, gestures and even the routes would have differed from those described in the first tome It was not certain what significance the ceremony held but the formality was no less sacred for it being unintelligible She Fuchisa appeared to inhabit, rather than to wear her clothes as empty as an unremembered heart the stage in Fuchsia s attic Today I saw a great pavement among the clouds made of grey stones, bigger than a meadow No one goes there Only a heron Today I saw a tree growing out of a high wall, and people walking on it far above the ground Today I saw a poet look out of a narrow window I saw today a horse swimming in the top of a tower I saw a million towers today The twins faces were quite expressionless, as though they were preliminary layouts for faces and were waiting for sentience to be injected An extraordinary metaphor at the end of this one about Irma Prunesquallorthe appearance of having been plucked and peeled than of cleanliness, though clean she was in the sense of a rasher of bacon Treading in a pool of his own midnight We are all imprisoned by the dictionary We choose out of that vast, paper walled prison our convicts, the little black printed words, when in truth we need fresh sounds to utter, new enfranchised noises which would produce a new effect Burned books are the corpses of thought lambent darkness is a good oxymoron Lightning is, a light like razors It not only showed to the least minutiae the anatomy of masonry, pillars and towers, trees, grass blades and pebbles, it conjured these things, it constructed them from nothing then a creation reigned in a blinding and ghastly glory as a torrent of electric fire coursed across the heavens The outpouring of a continent of sky had incarcerated and given a weird hyper reality of closeness to those who were shielded from all but the sound of the storm Quotes from GormenghastMy review HERE Peake s illustration of Bellgrove and Titus marblesporous shadow land not so much a darkness as something starved for moonbeams There is nowhere else you will only tread a circle everything comes to Gormenghast suckled on shadows, weaned as it were on webs of ritual He was pure symbol even the ingenious system of delegation whereon his greatness rested was itself worked out by another He had once made a point of being at least one mental hour ahead of his class but who had long since decided to pursue knowledge on an equal footing a smile she was concocting, a smileambitious than she had so far dared to invent Every muscle in her face was pulling its weight Not all of them knew in which direction to pull, but their common enthusiasm was formidable words that are proud with surrender Their presence and the presence of their few belongings seemed to reinforce the vacancy of their solitude A window let in the light and, sometimes, the sun itself, whose beams made of this silent, forgotten landing a cosmos, a firmament of moving motes, brilliantly illumined, an astral and at the same time solar province Where the sunbeams struck, the floor would flower like a rose, a wall break out in crocus light, and the banisters would flame like rings of coloured snakes the very lack of ghosts was in itself unnerving It s positively Wodehousian in places, made one wonder how this man Fluke could share the self same world with hyacinths and damsels and his Perch Prism s eyes with enough rings around them to lasso and strangle at birth any idea that he was under 50 Around the lake trees arose with a peculiar authority an one spinney was in an irritable state , another in a condition of suspended excitement while other trees were variously aloof, mournful, gesticulating, exultant and asleep The boys changed ammunition to paper pellets only after the THIRD death and a deal of confusion in the hiding of the bodies A cloud of starlings moved like a migraine across the upper air A symbol of something the significance of which had long been lost to the records Countless candles dribbled with hot wax, and their flames, like little flags, fluttered in the uncharted currents of air The wick of an enormous oil lamp was as wide as a sheep s tongue the long drawn hiss of reptilian rain In the snow, the terrain bulged with the submerged features of a landscape half remembered as empty as tongueless bells as a withered spinster might kiss a spaniel s nose Quotes from Titus AloneMy review HERE Peake s illustration of Muzzlehatch The very essence of his vocation was removedness He was a symbol He was the law Magistrate sham nobility of his countenance Old Crime a light to strangle infants by The merest wisp of a man his presence was a kind of subtraction He was nondescript to the point of embarrassment Scientist a man of the wilds Of the wilds within himself and the wilds without there was no beggar alive who could look so ragged and yet so like a king Muzzlehatch Within a span of Titus foot, a beetle minute and heraldic, reflected the moonbeams from its glossy back What lights had begun to appear were sucked in by the quenching effect of the darkness A flight of sunbeams, traversing the warm, dark air, forced a pool of light on the pillow The sun sank with a sob and darkness waded in What light there was seeped into the great glass buildings as though ashamed The old and the worn, who evolved out of the shades like beings spun from darkness his responses to her magnetism grew vaguer he longed to be alone again alone to wander listless through the sunbeams that he abhorred her brain seemed almost to add to his lust for her body He was no longer entangled in a maze of moods Titus Head after head in long lines, thick and multitudinous and cohesive as grains of honey coloured sugar, each grain a face a delirium of heads an endless profligacy I don t like this place one little bit My thighs are as wet as turbots a loquacious river A floating spy cam is a petty snooper, prying on man and child, sucking information as a bat sucks blood a voice of curds and whey Brief but unexpected sexual references scrotum tightening , his cock trembled like a harp string and when he first regains consciousness and sees Cheeta, his greeting is let me suck on your breasts, like little apples, and play upon your nipples with my tongue Cormorant fishing as in China they were riding on the wings of a clich From China Mieville s introduction to this edition With its first word the work declares itself, establishes its setting and has us abruptly there, in the castle and the stone There is no slow entry, no rabbit hole down which to fall, no backless wardrobe, no door in the wall To open the first book is not to enter but to be already in Mervyn Peake s astonishing creation So taken for granted, indeed, is this impossible place, that we commence with qualification Gormenghast, Peake starts, that is, the main massing of the original stone, as if, in response to that opening name, we had interrupted him with a request for clarification We did not say What is Gormenghast but Gormenghast Which bit It is a sly and brilliant move Asserting the specificity of a part, he better takes as given the whole of which, of course, we are in awe This faux matter of fact method makes Gormenghast, its Hall of Bright Carvings, its Tower of Flints, its roofscapes, ivy shaggy walls, its muddy environs and hellish kitchens, so muchpresent and real than if it had been breathlessly explained From this start, Peake acts as if the totality of his invented place could not be in dispute The dislocation and fascination we feel, the intoxication, is testimony to the success of his simple certainty Our wonder is not disbelief but belief, culture shock at this vast, strange place We submit to this reality that the book asserts even as it purports not to.It is in the names, above all, perhaps, that Peake s strategy of simultaneous familiarising and defamiliarising reaches its zenith Rottcodd, Muzzlehatch, Sourdust, Crabcalf, Gormenghast itself such names are so overburdened with semiotic freight, stagger under such a profusion of meanings, that they end up as opaque as if they had none Prunesquallor is a glorious and giddying synthesis, and one that sprays images but their portent remains unclear China Mieville on fantasy and Peake s relationship with it thanks to Traveller for this quotation Tolkien is the wen on the arse of fantasy literature His oeuvre is massive and contagious you can t ignore it, so don t even try The best you can do is consciously try to lance the boil And there s a lot to dislike his cod Wagnerian pomposity, his boys own adventure glorying in war, his small minded and reactionary love for hierarchical status quos, his belief in absolute morality that blurs moral and political complexity Tolkien s clich s elves n dwarfs n magic rings have spread like viruses He wrote that the function of fantasy was consolation , thereby making it an article of policy that a fantasy writer should mollycoddle the reader.That is a revolting idea, and one, thankfully, that plenty of fantasists have ignored From the Surrealists through the pulps via Mervyn Peake and Mikhael Bulgakov and Stefan Grabinski and Bruno Schulz and Michael Moorcock and M John Harrison and I could go on the best writers have used the fantastic aesthetic precisely to challenge, to alienate, to subvert and undermine expectations China Mieville The madness is illusory, and control never falters It is, if you like, a rich wine of fancy chilled by the intellect to just the right temperature There is no really close relative to it in all our prose literature It is uniquely brilliant, and we are right to call it a modern classic Anthony Burgess, in his 1988 introduction to Titus GroanAnd finally The Gormenghast page of the official Mervyn Peake site Peake Studies site The world is divided in two parts the domain of ugliness and the realm of beauty, the morass of useless and stale traditions and the enigmatic and enticing life on the land outside And the lonely boy Titus Groan, the heir of the monstrously huge castle of Gormenghast, must grow up and fight the lethargic, deadly inertia and crush fatal cosmic evil surrounding him.And the language of the saga is a creation of an unadulterated wizardry It gave Mr Flay what he imagined must be pleasure He was discoveringandin this new and strange existence, this vastness so far removed from corridors and halls, burned libraries and humid kitchens, that gave rise in him to a new sensation, this interest in phenomena beyond ritual and obedience something which he hoped was not heretical in him the multiformity of the plants and the varying textures in the barks of trees, the varieties of fish and bird and stone It was not in his temperament to react excitedly to beauty, for, as such, it had never occurred to him It was not in him to think in terms His pleasure was of a dour and practical breed and yet, not altogether When a shaft of light fell across a dark area his eyes would turn to the sky to discover the rift through which the rays had broken Then they would return with a sense of accomplishment to the play of the beams.When we grow up we pass the point of no return so there is no way for us to come back to the serene and cozy world of our childhood The Gormenghast is an ultimate coming of age tale, a real Armageddon of good and evil and it is one of the best and most original books of the twentieth century.