Books like Titus Groan

Titus Groan

1991, Mervyn Peake


Titus Groan is a novel by Mervyn Peake, first published in 1946. It is the first novel in the Gormenghast series.

The book is set in the huge castle of Gormenghast, a vast landscape of crumbling towers and ivy-filled quadrangles that has for centuries been the hereditary residence of the Groan family and with them a legion of servants. The Groan family is headed by Lord Sepulchrave, the seventy-sixth Earl of Groan. He is a melancholy man who feels shackled by his duties as Earl, although he never questions them. His only escape is reading in his library. His wife is the Countess Gertrude. Large and imposing, with dark red hair, she pays no attention to her family or to the rest of Gormenghast. Instead, she spends her time either in her bedroom or in walking selected areas, in the company of a legion of birds and her white cats that alone command her affections. Their daughter is 15-year-old Fuchsia Groan, attended to by the easily upset Nannie Slagg. Self-absorbed, childish and thoughtless, she is also impulsive, imaginative and at times fiercely affectionate. Sequestered in the south wing of the castle are Sepulchrave's identical twin sisters Cora and Clarice Groan, notable for always being dressed in purple. Both suffered from epileptic fits in their youth, as a result of which their left arms and legs are "rather starved". They have the same vague and vacant personalities, lacking intelligence to the point of mental impairment. Both crave political power and bitterly resent Gertrude, believing that she robbed them of their rightful place in the hierarchy of Gormenghast and of any involvement in its affairs. This desire for power, along with their general ignorance, allows for them to be easily manipulated by Steerpike in his quest for authority. Also important to the life of the castle is Lord Sepulchrave's personal servant, Mr. Flay, who believes in strictly adhering to the rules of Gormenghast.

Similar Books

Filter by:

If you like Titus Groan, you might also like: The King in Yellow and Other Horror Stories, Gun, With Occasional Music, and Titus Alone