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Titus Awakes: The Lost Book of Gormenghast [Paperback]

Mervyn Peake , Maeve Gilmore , Brian Sibley
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

23 Jun 2011

In Titus Awakes the 77th Earl of Groan leaves the crumbling castle of Gormenghast and finds the larger world even stranger than his birthplace. Confronted by elemental and human threats - snowstorms, shipwrecks and attempts on his life - Titus' bravery is tested and he must fight to free himself from the claims of his past.

Peake began this fourth and final volume of the Gormenghast stories but he died having only written a few pages. Using notes and the fragments he left behind, his wife, the painter and writer Maeve Gilmore, has created a richly imagined sequel that fans of The Gormenghast Trilogy will delight in.

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Titus Awakes: The Lost Book of Gormenghast + Gormenghast [DVD] [2000] + The Gormenghast Trilogy
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (23 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099552760
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099552765
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Titus Awakes is a treasure salvaged from the ruins" (New Statesman)

"Peake does not, as some have said, defy classification; rather, he is beyond classification in any single genre, and therein perhaps lies his genius. In his centenary year it is to be hoped that the latest surge of interest in his enormous range of work will finally help to place him in his rightful position as one of Britain's most brilliant, original and creative figures" (Times Literary Supplement)

"A century after his birth, the gothic surrealism of Peake's fantasy world still attracts new fans" (Independent)

Book Description

The recently rediscovered manuscript of the sequel to The Gormenghast Trilogy. Published to tie in with the centenary of Mervyn Peake's birth.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Puts to rest what Titus Alone began 18 Jan 2012
Although Titus Groan, Gormenghast and Titus Alone are conventionally referred to as 'the Gormenghast Trilogy', really it's only the first two which deal with the castle of Gormenghast and its inhabitants; the third installment - which seems to have always inspired mixed feelings amongst readers - has only Titus himself in common with the previous two books, and narrates a series of encounters in a surreal and incongruous world.

Titus Awakes is a sequel to Titus Alone - and just as little of a true Gormenghast story. For those therefore who disliked Titus Alone for whatever reason, there is little point in reading Gilmore's continuation.
Personally, having left Gormenghast with Titus at the end of book two and finding enough in Titus Alone to keep me reading until the end, I did desire closure to what for me is both a fairly large undertaking (considering both the series's length, and Peake's dense, treacle-speed narration), and one of the greatest literary works I've read. Since Titus Awakes was released a few months after my beginning Titus Groan, I resolved to read it as a finale.

Inevitably Gilmore's style is more straightforward, less visually vivid, and - it's fair to say - of a lesser quality than Peake's legendary writing, but after slogging through the original 'trilogy' its drifting flow was something of a relief to me. Titus wanders aimlessly again through as many encounters and environments as he did in Alone, but the surreal and dreamlike elements are diminished - almost as if his wanderings are gradually bringing him into the real world we all inhabit. By the end of the book, he truly has bridged the gap; Gilmore blends the end of Titus's narrative with the end of Peake's life (at least as a writer), which I found effective and touching.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Peake's spirit freed 7 July 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a brave courageous and loving epitaph by Maeve Gilmore to her clever tortured husband Mervyn Peake. With only a few pages of completed material and some chapter headings to work with she has finished what Peake might have done if his brains had not deserted him. It is episodic as life is but imaginative, if not as forbiddingly gloomy as Gormenghast. Without revealing the details the end is apt and sensitively handled and full of hope for Titus' future. I like to think Maeve Gilmore has freed her husband's spirit which he was tragically unable to do for himself.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Poignant Masterpiece 13 Sep 2013
By Neil
To any true fan of Peake's work picking up this tome was obviously going to result in mixed feelings. However I am delighted to say they need not worry; the heart and core of the former book's remains intact and this was a joy from beginning to end.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm glad Titus Awoke 21 Jun 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have finished reading Titus Awakes just now.

I'm glad to receive some closure as to his future wellbeing but remain desperately dissapointed that he never again saw Gormenghast or his dear ones.

The peace and order of that place, purged of Steerpike would have returned the reader to a more fitting conclusion: returning Titus to a life of purpose and fulfilling his mother's prophecy that he would tread a circle.

The ubiquity of coincidental encounters with helpful characters immediately addressing Titus's physical needs (food, shelter, transport, employment, solace etc) became somewhat tedious and undermines the authenticity of his wanderings.

Maeve gave me a welcome closure however and I thank Peake's estate for giving this to us.

Farewell Titus.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
You might think that this book, like the fourth volume of he Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, redefines the word "trilogy"; it does not. It is the sequel to Titus alone which is itself so different to the first two Gormenghast books that it is better to see the whole work as a pair of two-part novels.
Peake set himself a problem when he killed off all his most interesting characters by the end of the second book. Without Steerpike, Barquentine, Fuscia and Flay it must have been hard to see how the Castle could sustain another book so the only option was for Titus to leave and find more characters in the world outside to carry the story that his own somewhat un-likeable character was hardly up to. Muzzlehatch filled the bill admirably and I hoped Ruth would do the same in the fourth book. Everything looked hopeful that another great Peake character was about to develop then Titus wandered off again and she was out of the story. The same thing happened to all the characters, even the dog, and one soon realised that these were people that Peake had sketched with no hint of how they would develop, leaving Maeve Gilmore with the choice of trying to guess her husband's intentions (a tall order, to say the least) or simply move Titus on. Her choice of the latter course leaves the reader with a rather unsatisfying sequence of episodes but at least we have a glimpse of some new Peake characters.
I suspect that I am not alone in wishing that Titus had returned to Gormenghast (as the opening fragment suggested he might) to explore the tensions that his experiences in the wide world would undoubtedly generate with the surviving inhabitants.
Buy the book (it is cheap), read it and dream of what might have been!
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