[LMB] What I read on my winter vacation

Marc Wilson marc.wilson at gmx.co.uk
Sun Jan 10 00:27:44 GMT 2016


On Sat, 9 Jan 2016 09:04:34 -0500, "Gretchen Wright"
<gretchen.wright at rcn.com> wrote:

>
>Gormenghast – This became available on my building’s exchange shelf. I didn’t know much about it, but I recognized the title, probably because of mention on this list, so I snatched it up. Looking for background on it, I found this article:
>
>http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2014/aug/16/gormenghast-masterpiece-mervyn-peake
>
>It compares Gormenghast to LOTR. I am left feeling, how did I not know about this in my childhood/young-adulthood, around the same time I discovered Tolkien? Once dipping into it, I was immediately hooked. I feel that if I had only had the description that it is “Gothic fantasy,” I wouldn’t have expected to like it. (It’s frustrating for me because it’s very hard for me to predict what I will like based on reviews.) But everything about it delights me: the world-building, the characters, the language. The language is so over-the-top (florid vocabulary and sentence structure) that I keep thinking, “He shouldn’t be able to get away with this. But he does.”

It's similar to LotR in that it's a fantasy trilogy; just about
everything else about it is different - as the article makes clear.

In some ways they're right about the timing- it's more /serious/ than
LotR, and a harder read.  I first read LotR when I was about 9; I'd have
found Gormenghast much heavier going.  And people wanted some laughs
with their goblins.  Eight years later, it was an easier crowd.

But it was never going to be as popular, because it's altogether more
grim.


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