Titus Awakes: The Lost Book of Gormenghast Paperback – 23 Jun 2011
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"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)
The recently rediscovered manuscript of the sequel to The Gormenghast Trilogy. Published to tie in with the centenary of Mervyn Peake's birth.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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!
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.
There are some interesting elements here, but even the parts written by Mervyn pale in comparison to the earlier books.
I want to love it, I want to recommend it. But I cannot really.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was always wary of the idea of a sequel to some of my all-time favourite books, written by another writer, even if based on notes by the original author. Read morePublished 5 months ago by S Litton
Obviously Maeve did her best but could never live up to the great master himself!Published 17 months ago by Vivian Boland
written by his wife from the notes that m peake made cos he passed over, I am pleased with thisPublished 19 months ago by Mr. K. White