The Gormenghast Trilogy is amazing. I don’t know whether it’s because it was written by an artist, but it is without a doubt the most painterly novel I’ve ever read. Peake’s use of language incredibly beautiful and visual. Steerpike becomes so malignantly evil in the book, at some points I could only read short bits at a time. And the operative word is “becomes”. Peake draws Steerpike not merely as a one dimensional character, but allows you to see his mental and physical disintegration over time. In the movie you’re led to believe that he does have some feeling for Fushia. Not in the book. He is the most calculating, Machiavellian character ever created. The movie was a very good recreation, but not entirely faithful to the book. I found myself so upset about what happens to Fushia, and so annoyed at Titus for, well, I don’t want to give it away, you’d think these people existed. I sloughed my way through Titus Alone, base upon the strength of the prior novels, Titus Groan and Gormenghast. Peake still writes beautifully, but you almost have to say he does so in a vacuum, because the novel is so-so, to say the least. Titus can be such an annoying character and it’s just not as tight plot-wise as the other two. There are good parts, but I found myself guiltily skimming for them, which is something I wouldn’t dream of doing in the other two.
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