Perils of assimilation

If only life came with subtitles.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Radiowaves to Blogwaves

One of my favorite artists is also one of my favorite bloggers: the lovely Mike Doughty.

In other news, I am a chicken. I have, once again, backed out of finally reading Titus Alone. The Gormenghast novels are amoung the most important books I read growing up, along with the Narnia books and The Neverending Story. They are books I am so attached to, that the thought of anyone else reading them puts me on the defensive, protecting the stories I will forever think of as mine.

The first two books of the series, Titus Groan and Gormenghast, are the greatest examples of the Modern Gothic (though Lolita comes close). It contains the typical hallmarks of the genre: a moldy castle, a bloodline that needs preserving, a protagonist emotionally orphaned, and an Otranto-esque menace to the rightful heir. But they are so much more than the tradional trappings.

The beauty of the writing is its ability to draw me into the world of Gormenghast, With the first chapter, I can smell the ancient dust, see it plume out with every step of Flay’s feet on the stones. I fell in love with Fucshia, the lonely lost girl, played in her attic labyrinth. I was mesmerized by Titus’ tenth birthday celebration, saw the strange dance of the lion, wolf, horse, and lamb. I grew to love Steerpike, easily the best character present, was glad and sad that he died, angry that he wasn’t any longer the focus of the book, laughed at Irma’s relentless pursuit of a husband, an errant effort that rival’s Panurge’s quest for a wife in it’s comedic appeal. I miss the characters, I miss the silly Doctor, Nannie’s aches and moans. That’s the mark of a good book, I suppose when you miss the caracters after youre done, your friends for so many pages and that you have to part ways with.

I hate to see the characters go, but there is a third book. Titus Alonecontinues with the adventures of Titus outside of Gormenghast castle. Titus is my least favorite character, he's a dull boy. I think it was Anthony Trollope who said that the interest of the story lies with the wicked and foolish people. Oh, how right he is. But that isn't the entire reason for my reluctance to read Titus Alone, I love the world Mervyn Peake made, and by not reading the last book he wrote about it, it can still live in my mind.


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