#ReadThemAllThon has now been running for a week, and I’ve got one badge under my belt: the Boulder Badge (first book in a series), which I satisfied by reading Titus Groan.
So let’s talk about Titus Groan.
I’m almost always apprehensive about books published prior to 1950. The prose style is very hit or miss, and the further back you go, the more likely you are to run across casual misogyny or racism, which I find extremely jarring.
Fortunately, this time my fear was unfounded. In fact, the prose wasn’t just acceptable, it was great. Extremely rich and descriptive, with a consistently grim and satirical edge. The characters, who have ridiculous names like “Prunesquallor” and “Sourdust,” are all completely of their minds, each in their own unique way. The complicated rituals and ceremonies that the castle’s life are based around never go right—not once in the whole book. This is usually the characters’ fault. I found myself laughing out loud several times because it’s all just so ludicrous. Everything is a caricature of itself.
That said, the story was pretty slow, but I don’t exactly know why. A lot happens, plot-wise. But there’s little emotion in it. It doesn’t grip you. Everything is presented in a completely impartial way. All in all, I’m giving in three stars: I enjoyed it, and I’d recommend it, but I probably won’t be picking up the sequels.
Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake
Series: Gormenghast #1
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
An undisputed classic of epic fantasy, Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast novels represent one of the most brilliantly sustained flights of Gothic imagination, Titus Groan, the first book in this timeless series, is the start of an unforgettable journey.
As the novel opens, Titus has just been born. As heir to Lord Sepulchrave, he stands to inherit the miles of rambling stone and mortar that form Castle Gormenghast. Inside of Gormenghast, all events are predetermined by complex rituals, the origins of which are lost in time. Dreamlike and macabre, Titus Groan is one of the most astonishing and fantastic works in modern fiction.