Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This classic fantasy still feels almost like allegory and real history wrapped around some of the most beautiful prose in literature.
Seriously. The prose is really fantastic. The names of things are both evocative and as predictive as shadows upon the wall: outlines and no substance.
The same is not true for the characters or the story itself. Titus has many mini-adventures from his childhood through his young adulthood, culminating in his ever-present desire to free himself of his home's odd traditions, the duties that will befall him, or even just the shadow of the antagonist that caused so much ruin in the first book. Titus grows up, and this novel is not just a simplified coming of age story. It's as complicated and real life, as full and ripe as all the greatest stories ever told, and it ends with great and satisfying heroism that is turned sour mainly because it only entrenches Titus in the very things he'd spent all his life trying to escape.
I feel for him. I really do.
There's so much tragedy in Gormenghast, and yet the whole land and the castle feels like a character unto itself, gloriously drawn and full of personality.
Anyone could read this without knowing anything about fantasy at all. It kinda transcends genres, turning into something closer to magical realism in traditional fiction despite the fact that it came out long before the term was even coined.
Truly, it isn't a book that should be missed if you're a fan of good literature. :)
View all my reviews