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January 21, 2010 12:00 PM   Subscribe

Titus Awakes, a fourth Gormenghast novel written by Maeve Gilmore from notes and fragments left by her husband Mervyn Peake, has been discovered hidden in an attic.

More Gormenghast background can be found in this excellent previous FPP.
posted by permafrost (34 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
it is fifteen thousand pages long.
posted by shmegegge at 12:02 PM on January 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


i keed i keed. i love the gormenghast books.
posted by shmegegge at 12:02 PM on January 21, 2010


Sometimes posthumous novels and collaborations based on things found in boxes are worth it... often not.
posted by Artw at 12:08 PM on January 21, 2010


Shouldn't they complete the third book before starring a fourth?
posted by Lorc at 12:09 PM on January 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Spoiler: the entirety of the third book was just a dream!
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:14 PM on January 21, 2010


So she wrapped it all up in 210 pages, huh?

I'm going to be over here, continuing to pretend the second and third volumes don't exist. And now the fourth as well.
posted by rusty at 12:14 PM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


While I love Gormenghast, I'm one of those who thinks the quality of the books degrades as the series goes along. This makes me painfully worried about a fourth book.
posted by OmieWise at 12:14 PM on January 21, 2010


I heard the title was Titus Malone and what happens is he becomes a private dick and solves saucy mysteries.
posted by turgid dahlia at 12:24 PM on January 21, 2010 [9 favorites]


I was advised (having enjoyed the first two greatly) not to read the third. I ignored the advice and regretted it. I now pass the advice on to anyone here who's not yet made that mistake.
posted by imperium at 12:26 PM on January 21, 2010


Blargh. I just received the trilogy from Amazon yesterday, and now I shouldn't even read all three? Hrm.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:32 PM on January 21, 2010


On the one hand, this book was clearly never meant to be published. On the other, I'm desperate to know who/what the "lurker in the shade of Swelter's belly" is.

*spoiler* And I liked the third book - the prose is clearly far beneath the first two, but it managed to be all about Gormenghast (obsessively, repetitively?) without ever featuring the physical castle/complex/world itself.
posted by Paragon at 12:32 PM on January 21, 2010


I heard the title was Titus Malone and what happens is he becomes a private dick and solves saucy mysteries.

Heh. I just found out about a previously unpublished John Wyndham book that's a hard boilded PI/SF peice. Without having read it I have to say I'm a little skeptical as to it's merits.
posted by Artw at 12:34 PM on January 21, 2010


While I love Gormenghast, I'm one of those who thinks the quality of the books degrades as the series goes along. This makes me painfully worried about a fourth book.
posted by OmieWise at 12:14 PM on January 21


I thought it went downhill after the first few chapters. There seemed to be a lot of creativity in the description of an interesting culture...that just stopped and became England. Read Gloriana instead.
posted by 445supermag at 12:36 PM on January 21, 2010


I agree with imperium and OmieWise. I too ignored the advice not to read III and regretted it bitterly. You are there watching his mind fall apart step by step, and before the volume is halfway through he's lost it and you've lost it and it becomes impossible to follow or enjoy.

Nevertheless, sheer blind curiosity is going to force me to at least attempt to read IV, even though I doubt in advance (that's awful, isn't it - one really shouldn't do that) that I'll enjoy it.

And one can always re-read volume I to take away the bad taste.
posted by aqsakal at 12:36 PM on January 21, 2010


I heard the title was Titus Malone

I heard it was Titus Malone Dies.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:09 PM on January 21, 2010


I liked Titus Alone. It's completely different from the other two, and is arguably more informed by Peake's degenerating mental condition than his genius, but I quite liked its feverishness. For me the low point of the series is the interminable subplot in Gormenghast where the one old teacher is courting the old sister. Dull, endless, and almost completely exciseable.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:22 PM on January 21, 2010


Durn Bronzefist: I disagree with the advice others are giving here. I think you should read the third book once.

Once.
posted by rusty at 2:09 PM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Lifes too short for reading bad books.

Actually, I'm reading Patient Zero at the moment, which is fucking terrible and yet oddly compelling, so I guess it's that life is too short for reading bad books that you don't enjoy.
posted by Artw at 2:12 PM on January 21, 2010


I found Titus Alone deeply unsettling; It was hard to know where the gothic surrealism ended and the mental illness began. I was left with the feeling that I had read something I had no business reading.

As such, I might give the inevitable paperback of this new one a miss – I don't imagine a posthumous recreation of the series written by the author's widow and hidden in an attic will be able to recapture the feel of the original novel when even Peake's own sequels couldn't.
posted by him at 2:31 PM on January 21, 2010


I shall probably be avoiding it too, although I must admit my curiosity is peaked {groan}. For those that haven't seen it, the BBC dramatisation is worth a look.
posted by tellurian at 2:48 PM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]



Lifes too short for reading bad books.


Glass half empty kind of guy, eh? There is always the outside chance that it's good. I mean, at least wait for the reviews.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:57 PM on January 21, 2010


I'll be interested to read it, but I'll be approaching it with a once-bitten sense of trepidation. I loved the first two books, was oddly disturbed by the third, and this one... Well, it wasn't really written by Peake anyway. It's sort of like that sequel to Gone With The Wind that was published a few years ago, only without the layer of crass commercialism which accompanied that book. Maybe it'll be good. *shrug*
posted by hippybear at 2:59 PM on January 21, 2010


Actually your curiosity has been piqued.
posted by kenko at 3:00 PM on January 21, 2010


Actually your curiosity has been piqued.
We need some sort of symbol to indicate punning. I suggest ℗. In this case it was a ℗℗.
posted by tellurian at 3:25 PM on January 21, 2010


and a brilliant pun it was too. one of the few actual "lol" moments I've had today.
posted by hippybear at 3:37 PM on January 21, 2010


I've tried several times to read these books....I can't get through them.

Very boring.
posted by GavinR at 5:40 PM on January 21, 2010


I disagree with the advice others are giving here. I think you should read the third book once.

Once.


You shouldn't oughta read the third book, Johnny. My grandmother read the third book once.

Once.
posted by shmegegge at 6:07 PM on January 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I feel my valve slamming shut.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 6:54 PM on January 21, 2010


[sorry, wrong thread]
posted by Turtles all the way down at 6:55 PM on January 21, 2010


I just started reading Titus Groan. I had heard a lot of things about this series: it's big, it's gothic, it's meandering, it's disturbed, it's got a cast of thousands, it's "the journey, not the destination." One thing I hadn't heard but nearly instantly obvious: it's funny as hell.
posted by wobh at 7:27 PM on January 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I could have sworn that I read about this years ago in a biography of Peake. I didn't know that it had been lost, though. I had assumed it was unfinished.

Also, I liked Titus Alone. It's overblown and fervid with grotesque characters and lots of weird litte digressions (OK, it's all wierd digressions), but so are the first two books. I enjoyed them more - Gormenghast itself is such an amazing place, but there are images from the last book that still haunt me even though it's been years since I've read it.
posted by gamera at 9:32 PM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you're thinking about reading the series, I wrote a bit about why some of us (including myself) are saying that you shouldn't read the third book in this previous thread. It's a bit more complicated than "It's not as good."

Also, I feel like part of the reason new readers don't understand why they shouldn't read the third one is that Titus Alone detractors don't adequately explain that the end of the second book is a satisfying ending to the story if you want it to be. There aren't any cliffhangers or unresolved plotlines; the third book begins another phase of one character's life.

What infuriates me is that I can't find a copy of the books that doesn't call it The Gormenghast Trilogy. Peake was never writing a trilogy...he writing something like a "septendecology," an epic multivolume book series about a single character. The third book in the so-called trilogy was edited after his death and published posthumously. It's not the third and final part of a series, it's the beginning of the next "act" of a story that sadly never got completed.
posted by Ian A.T. at 6:29 AM on January 22, 2010


"jarring Bonus Material" -- got it. And I agree with you -- part of the problem, and partly why it was disconcerting to read this thread, with picking up these three books is that they are a single-bound volume, and I would never have thought to pause and insert a mental "The End" at the end of book two to see how it suits. Anyway, I will no doubt give it a go but will keep all of this in mind.

Started Titus Groan last night. Fascinating...
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:22 PM on January 22, 2010


Started Titus Groan last night. Fascinating...

That's what they all say, and then they dump me before the third book. *shakes fist*
posted by titus-g at 10:42 AM on January 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


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