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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't expect Gormenghast...
After Gormenghast, I was hungry for more work by this superb author and happily, I came by this. Mr. Pye started off rather slowly, but by the third chapter I was utterly hooked by this simple, yet powerful fable of morality. It doesn't hit the heights of the Gormenghast Trilogy by a long shot but it is a very different creature all together. Most certainly worth a look
Published on 28 Jan. 2013 by Burning Amnesia

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3.0 out of 5 stars High tea in the garden of good and evil
A very slow start is enlivened by Peake's droll wit and deft prose, but put your crampons on because the story only starts to bite halfway through. As I could never get a handle on who Pye is when we first meet him - or even whether he's an ordinary mortal - it was hard to care about the strange transformations he has to go through later.

It is quite a...
Published 1 month ago by D. Morris


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3.0 out of 5 stars High tea in the garden of good and evil, 15 Feb. 2015
By 
D. Morris "@MirabilisDave" (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mr Pye (Paperback)
A very slow start is enlivened by Peake's droll wit and deft prose, but put your crampons on because the story only starts to bite halfway through. As I could never get a handle on who Pye is when we first meet him - or even whether he's an ordinary mortal - it was hard to care about the strange transformations he has to go through later.

It is quite a page-turner from the midpoint onwards, and I kept thinking, well now, I can't see how he's going to end this but it's going to be interesting. The snag is that I think Peake was probably thinking the same thing. The ending felt rushed and I was left with a kind of "okay then" feeling.

This could just be because I'm not familiar with the context in which it was written. Some spoilers now... Towards the end, Pye is succoured by Tintagieu, with whom he and we have almost no relationship, while the relationship we do care about - with jolly-hockeysticks Miss Dredger - is more or less discarded. One review says that the reason for this is it's a parallel with Jesus and Mary Magdalene. That'd be a shrug from me, then. I don't know or care enough about Christian narrative to get that, nor was I anything but bemused when Mr Pye's idea of doing evil appears to involve drawing runic pentacles around a tethered goat at midnight. Even if that's a euphemism for doing other things to the goat, it's hardly evil - and must have seemed even less so just seven years after the liberation of Auschwitz.

I read this just after Hilary Mantel's Fludd - deliberately, because I felt they might complement each other. The odd thing is (spoilers, remember) that Fludd actually is a supernatural being and we are given almost no clue to that from Ms Mantel, if you don't count her comments in the preface. Mr Pye, on the other hand, seems to be a magician or an angel or an alien right from the git-go, only for us to learn halfway through that he has just been an ordinary man up till that point. Fludd starts well and loses momentum; Mr Pye ambles along until Peake remembers to engage a plot at chapter sixteen. Both are beautifully written but the stories failed to amount to much, and are soon forgotten.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't expect Gormenghast..., 28 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Mr Pye (Paperback)
After Gormenghast, I was hungry for more work by this superb author and happily, I came by this. Mr. Pye started off rather slowly, but by the third chapter I was utterly hooked by this simple, yet powerful fable of morality. It doesn't hit the heights of the Gormenghast Trilogy by a long shot but it is a very different creature all together. Most certainly worth a look
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mr Pye - a fun tale for our time, 23 Jan. 2013
A delightful, delicious & sometimes mischievous account of one man's attempts to find a meaningful role for himself. Highly amusing & increasingly intriguing. Skilful characterisation of the main cast.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent contrast to Gormenghast., 13 May 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Mr Pye (Paperback)
Although this book is not quite "Gormenghast" it still shows off Peake's exquisite descriptive powers. Not as gloomy or epic as his masterpiece, it has a much simpler plot, however "Mr Pye" keeps the same eccentric characterisation and rich dickensian writing style that makes Peake such a brilliant writer.
Some have said that the book is childlike in it's plot and dialogue. This is completely untrue. Although very humerous, "Mr Pye" is at times deeply disturbing, as one would naturally expect with Mervyn peake.
So, although very different atmospherically to "Gormenghast", this book is still very well worth a read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little gem - and a travel guide to Sark, 6 Sept. 2010
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This review is from: Mr Pye (Paperback)
Since Mervyn Peake's parents were missionaries in China from the time of his birth until he was 12, it is not a surprising topic for his standalone novel set in the wonderful Channel island of Sark - where he lived for several periods within his life. Having estalished reality in his novel, the story itself is actually a fantasy.

Harold Pye travels from England to Sark where he takes it upon himself to reform the islanders (residents and natives) and convert them to following The Great Pal(God). He assembles his cast of disciples: Miss Dredger his landlady, Miss George her sworn enemy, Thorpe, the resident painter and Tintagieu "a girl of easy virtue". Mr Pye is repeatedly hummiliated in front of his congregation and questions his relationship with the Great Pal until the end of the novel, where he leaves the island "which was nothing but a long wasp-waisted rock".

I disliked Harold Pye immediately: he is arrogant and self-opinionated, he lacks compassion, he is proud and patronising and difficult to feel affection for. I find the most attractive character in the story is Tintagieu who is promiscuous but innocent, amoral in fact. She disliked Mr Pye when he was drawing crowds but when they start to humiliate him, she becomes supportive and wishes to help. Hers is one of the important conversions of the novel. Another important character in the book is the island of Sark itself - it is as well to read the book with a map of the island to hand just to understand how the action moves around the wasp-waisted island.

It's a great story, easy to read but written in beautiful English (someone is described as having "a face as blank as a mushroom", isn't that marvellous?). It has some wonderful episodes (such as the dead whale on the beach); it deserves to be read by a wider audience. Maybe the coming centenary will attract readers to the works of Mervyn Peake where they will find this little gem waiting for them.

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If you want to join in discussions about Mervyn Peake's work, go to the Facebook group called The Grey Scrubbers - see you there!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Mr Pye, 10 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Mr Pye (Paperback)
It was rather far-fetched in plot. We read it as a group and enjoyed the picture it gave us of Sark and its way of life.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars NOT GORMENGHAST, BUT STILL GREAT, 1 Sept. 2001
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This review is from: Mr Pye (Paperback)
No, Mr Pye shouldn't be compared to the astounding Gormenghast, but it is still a sweetly quirky and entertaining book. Peake's oddball sense of humour shines through, and the characters are his usual mad bunch of weirdos. Very lively and imaginative, and if you appreciate it on it's own merits and not as a work by the author of Gormenghast, you'll find it quite delightful.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mervyn Peake at his Humourous best., 1 April 2009
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This review is from: Mr Pye (Paperback)
A stranger comes to a small English island populated by various peculiar oblique characters-not to mention the stranger himself-The stranger will get to know all of the inhabitants of the isle of sark( to earn his wings )

the book is filled with Peakes wonderful sense of humour
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1.0 out of 5 stars One Star, 16 Dec. 2014
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Not the Mervyn Peake standard that I know. 4 chapters would've said it all
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6 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hmmmmmmmm., 28 Jan. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Mr Pye (Paperback)
Those expecting a breathtaking ballet of brilliant prose, as Mr Peake supplied in the Gormenghast trilogy, will innevitably be disapointed. The book instead concentrates on narrative, detailing the story of one Mr Pye who travels to Sark and tries to convert the population to Christianity. The story is almost child-like in its simplistic structure - a tale of good versus evil, that comes to manifest itself in tangible form. Mr Peake reveals a spiritual longing that one might not have expected from his other, more fantastical works. To summarize, this is a book that will appeal to evangelical christians or those who are doing a theses on Mr Peake; otherwise readers will feel a warm pang of dissapointment spreading slowly throughout their body, until the memory of this nondescript book is excreted almost unnoticably away.
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Mr Pye
Mr Pye by Mervyn Peake (Paperback - 2 Dec. 1999)
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