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Titus Awakes: The Lost Book of Gormenghast (Gormenghast #4)

3.12  ·  Rating Details ·  252 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast novels are widely acknowledged to be a classic work of high fantasy, on a par with Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. In the Gormenghast novels, Peake created the vividly detailed world - at once gothic and surreal - of Castle Gormenghast, ruled by the noble family of Groan, whose heir is bound by the house's ancient rules and rituals. When Peake died ...more
Hardcover, 265 pages
Published July 7th 2011 by Overlook Press (first published 1972)
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Maeve Gilmore, Peake's widow wrote this Titus story, based on a few short pages of very brief notes, initially as a homage to him, rather than with the intention of publishing it. It has the distinct air of making peace and laying ghosts. I hadn't expected (or wanted) to like this, but I read it for completeness. But joy of joys, and to my great surprise, it is wonderful.

Picture of young Maeve, by Peake

Titus Alone, Awakes

Reading this made me appreciate "Titus Alone" more than I had previously (s
Brian Yatman
Feb 29, 2012 Brian Yatman rated it liked it
To appreciate 'Titus Awakes' it's not enough to have read the Gormenghast trilogy: you'll need to read 'A World Away', Gilmore's account of her relationship with Mervyn Peake and his tragic decline. Gilmore lacks her husband's knack for byzantine wordplay and eye for the grotesque, but her spare (if uneven) style and rambling plot reward the attentive reader with moments of real poignancy and gentle humour. The ending is just beautiful.
Jan 21, 2017 Linda rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2017
I almost waffled between 1 and 2 stars because 1 star seems so harsh. But if 2 means "it was OK", most of the time while reading I did not think this to be the case. So, I have to settle on 1 star, which is rare for me to hand out. The only reason I read through the entire book is because it is a very quick read, and for the sake of completion. In retrospect though, I would have felt complete after reading the three books that Mervyn Peake himself actually wrote.

I was not expecting much going in
Jul 07, 2011 Sam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is kind of an odd read as it deviates from the heavier style of the rest of the series, unsurprising since it was written by Maeve Gilmore, Peake's wife, but this does make it an easier to read so is a bit of a double edged sword. It follows a similar pattern as Titus Alone with the title character going on a series of mini adventures, including finding himself in a metnal institution where he meets Peake and Gilmore(!), although Gormenghast is still very much at the forefront of his mind. ...more
Simon Mcleish
Apr 03, 2012 Simon Mcleish rated it liked it
Also published on my blog here

The Gormenghast trilogy, by far Mervyn Peake's best known work as a writer, has many fans, including myself. And fans always want more, so we were intrigued when the publication of Titus Awakes was announced last year. Maeve Gilmore was Peake's widow (and, like her husband, an artist), who edited the fascinating but uneven compilation of Peake's less well known work, Peake's Progress. One of the items included there was the sketchy plan which eventually became Titus
Dec 10, 2013 midnightfaerie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Although very short, this book is a nice look into where Peake was going with this story when he died. Some of our favorite characters are brought back and/or briefly mentioned, so we know Peake was hesitant to leave them behind. Our beloved Gormenghast castle is also mentioned in the "Preadventure" and so we can only hope that it will once again become the setting of at least part of our story. It's truly a shame Peake died when he did and couldn't finish this wonderful series. Although we know ...more
Dec 10, 2013 midnightfaerie rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
Although very short, this book is a nice look into where Peake was going with this story when he died. Some of our favorite characters are brought back and/or briefly mentioned, so we know Peake was hesitant to leave them behind. Our beloved Gormenghast castle is also mentioned in the "Preadventure" and so we can only hope that it will once again become the setting of at least part of our story. It's truly a shame Peake died when he did and couldn't finish this wonderful series. Although we know ...more
Richard Pierce
Aug 27, 2012 Richard Pierce rated it really liked it
I loved Peake's Gormenghast trilogy. This did not disappoint. I found the tone lighter, and room for hope in a desperate world.
Max Nemtsov
Nov 19, 2013 Max Nemtsov rated it really liked it
Это tru fanfic из той эпохи, когда и слов-то таких не знали. Единственное отличие — ударение здесь имеет смысл ставить на tru. Мэв Гилмор искренне пыталась продлить жизнь покойного мужа — Мервина Пика — хотя бы в собственной памяти. В этом-то и разница — для нее он был отнюдь не «полюбившимся персонажем» романа.

Такой литературный экзорцизм, который она предприняла, не всякому по плечу. Она действительно возвращает его к жизни в не называемом по имени Художнике — мало того, ведет от болезни к сча
Sep 02, 2011 Simon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I was always wary of the idea of a sequel to some of my all-time favourite books, written by another writer, even if based on notes by the original author. And it turns out I was right. Titus Awakes continues the wanderings abroad started in Titus Alone, but whereas in the previous book Titus' discovery of the outside world was invigorating and involving, here it's tedious and astonishingly repetitive. Titus happens to meet someone who takes pity on him and offers him shelter, food, love, work o ...more
Feb 08, 2013 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oh dear - some things should just be left alone. In the spirit of Titus Alone (rather than the first two books) but without most of its redeeming features. Bitty (a kinder word would be episodic)and rather pointless. The only real interest lies in the last few pages where Titus journeys to what is clearly Sark -Peake's home. Just as it starts to get interesting, it stops. Less than 24 hours after finishing reading I'd be hard pressed to remember any narrative details. Nice trybut it should have ...more
Jul 06, 2011 Corey rated it it was ok
It makes me sad how bad this is. Better to think about re-reading the magisterial Gormenghast trilogy.
Wilson Dolaghan
Feb 12, 2017 Wilson Dolaghan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
This is the most beautiful and heartfelt work I've ever read. Knowing it would not be a true sequel (given the different author and that Mervyn Peake had no real outline for the remaining plot of his story) I took it for what it was, a widow's grieving for her dead husband, a cursed genius. That being said, while the writing is certainly different from Peake's, which I love, it is so completely perfect for the tone it sets out to express, for the sheer emotion it conveys, and the pure and univer ...more
Octavia Cade
Mar 30, 2014 Octavia Cade rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Mervyn Peake may be my favourite author. His "Gormenghast" series is outstanding, and if Peake hadn't succumbed to neurological disease he would have continued to write. "Titus Awakes" is the work of his wife, Maeve, extrapolating from the thinnest of fragments left behind, and it is proof positive that one can marry a genius but not continue on for them.

I wanted to love it. But the characteristic grotesquerie of Peake, the Baroque prose you can drown in, just isn't there. Maeve Peake tries, and
Aug 17, 2012 Ian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think Maeve Gilmore did a wonderful job with this book. While it certainly lacks Peake's sense for the grotesque (which anyway felt more at home in Gormenghast than outside of it) it certainly does read like a Gormenghast book and, in particular, is an excellent counterpoint and closure to the part of Titus' life that started in Titus Alone.
The story of Titus Awakes once again follows the episodic steps of the previous book but in a gentler way, following a change in sensibility that reflects
Jon Arnold
The best thing about Peake’s widow finishing off his notes for a planned fourth volume is the balance it provides to the original trilogy – Titus Alone now no longer feels like a bitty appendage to the meaty epic of the first books of the series. It’s also clearly a cathartic exercise for her, with what seems to be an avatar of Peake making a small but vital appearance at a key moment. It also provides a sense of closure to Titus’ wanderings.

It’s a slight story in itself though, and hard as Gilm
Peter Auber
Sep 05, 2014 Peter Auber rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 24, 2013 Artur rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hard-copy, fantasy
The final volume of the Gormenghast series was only begun by Mervyn Peake before his death; his wife, Maeve Gilmore, wrote the rest basing on his notes. It shows; the plot is even more episodic than in 'Titus Alone', the language is far simpler, almost sketchy at times. But it seems to be very fitting when one considers the stage of Titus' journey: he abhors being still and settling down, but because of that he cannot form any sort of attachment to people or things and therefore his freedom is m ...more
David F.
Well written and fairly engrossing. It is not on a par with the books of the Gormenghast trilogy. While the characters in the trilogy were not exactly realistic, they were Dickensian in their allegorical exaggeration. These characters are also not truly believable but they lack the quality of the characters in the original novels. This novel seems to take a dark view of human nature and of human relations. It ends on what may be a rather hopeful note but not one that is clearly positive or all t ...more
Aug 10, 2015 James rated it it was ok
Fans of Gormenghast beware! This book absolutely does not live up to the brilliant trilogy penned by Mervyn Peake.

Based on fragments for the next novel that Peake had sketched out, his widow turned them into this novel. The book never really moves much beyond a series of lightweight encounters and fragments, with little sense of narrative and little replication of the vibrant characters that made the original Gormenghast books so enjoyable.

The introduction valiantly tries to make a case for the
This is a touching book, written by Mervyn Peake s wife Maeve Gilmore, years after his death, based on a first chapter that he left behind...
It feels like a catharsis, a way of finishing the circle started by the Gormenghast cycle...
And in particular the scenes set in the mental hospital, where Titus meets 'the artist' (Peake) and his wife (Gilmore) is poignant, especially when you consider this is Gilmore s vision of what would happen...
It s not as linguistically impressive as Gormenghast, but
Jul 20, 2016 Rob rated it it was ok
The first half of this book followed the Titus saga in true fashion as he continues to find himself in the far away land. However, the second half was all over the place with him entering the modern world and living the life of a vagrant as he goes from place to place to place. The story was way too disjointed to gain any traction and seemed to constantly repeat his experience at every visited location.
Cooper Renner
One hates to complain about what was clearly a labor of love--Maeve's earnest attempt to write for Mervyn the book he couldn't write himself--but the book isn't very good. The episodic plot is all right, and sometimes the conversations are good. But the writing style is not good: sometimes ponderous in the way of a very young writer (which Maeve was not), sometimes simply cliched. This labor of love should have remained something for the family to treasure and kept away from the public.
Aug 19, 2015 Greg added it
Shelves: sf-and-fantasy, 2015
The warning signs were all there. A much-delayed sequel to a well-loved masterpiece, "based on a fragment" by a long-dead author, focused on possibly the least interesting character in all of Gormenghast.

This is a tiresome book. Dull set-pieces featuring boring characters inhabiting a plot that goes nowhere, uttering god-awful dialogue that is both pretentious and wooden. I should have known better.
Jan 20, 2016 Kristina rated it liked it
This book's composition gives a very real sense that it was grown from a few simple ideas. The first few chapters are much shorter than later chapters and feel more disconnected. This suits the story well as it exentuates Titus' return to health and life.
Things happen to Titus but he is always removed from characters and events. As Titus tells us himself, he would for ever be an onlooker in life and death.
The last book of the Gormenghast series, by large written by Peake's wife, and at least since the middle of the book somehow autobiographic. It's clear by then, that Gormenghast was meant to be a coming-of-age novel about Titus, no fantasy novel, which it really isn't. It's a pity though that the first two books are so weak in comparison to number three and four.
Jan 25, 2012 Bagtree rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
An odd, sad book. It seems more like Gilmore's tribute to her husband than a real continuation of the story, and I think may be better read with that understanding. It's not without some common elements to Titus Alone, but it's quite different from the first two, and pretty difficult to evaluate on its own merits. Hence a 3, because that's just about the most neutral thing I can say.
I really wanted to love Titus Awakes, and it pains me to admit that it just wasn't very good.

Ambitious but largely unsuccessful. At times Gilmore is able to recreate the feeling of Peake's writing, evoking a nostalgic longing for more of that beloved story... But she fails to deliver.

Repetitive, dull, and lacking depth.
Craig Hallam
Sep 24, 2012 Craig Hallam rated it really liked it
A good follow up to Titus Alone, but I still feel that these.books are seperate to Titus Groan and Gormenghast. There are obvious stylistic changes between this book and the others that Peake had more of a hand in writing.
Still, I enjoyed this book, its references to the relationship between Peake and Titus, and the eventual ending was apt and very well written. A good read.
Sylvia Warman
Jul 26, 2013 Sylvia Warman rated it really liked it
This was quite good considering it was based on just a couple of pages and few notes left by Peake. I chose not to read the foreword/ intro bit as it warned that elements of plot were in it. However once I'd finished the book I was rather bemused until I went back and read the forward.
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The Tower of Flin...: Titus Awakes (Book 4) 1 5 Aug 02, 2012 02:23PM  
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Maeve Patricia Mary Theresa Gilmore (1917-1983). Painter, sculpter and writer. Wife and biographer of Mervyn Peake, author of the Gormenghast novels, and editor and continuer of her husband's works.
More about Maeve Gilmore...

Other Books in the Series

Gormenghast (4 books)
  • Titus Groan (Gormenghast, #1)
  • Gormenghast
  • Titus Alone (Gormenghast, #3)

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