Here are other people's assessments:
- "Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast novels are cult classics of 20th Century English literature. Writer and philosopher John Gray considers what they tell us about the nature of the modern world. (May contain spoilers.)"
- Family on father -- BBC Radio 4 (audio)
- Book review: 'Titus Awakes: The Lost Book of Gormenghast' Mervyn Peake's 'Gormenghast' series of novels is continued by his widow, Maeve Gilmore, in a fascinating, intensely personal homage. August 28, 2011|By Michael Moorcock, Special to the Los Angeles Times
- A celebration of the writing and art of Mervyn Peake Mervyn Peake, creator of Gormenghast, is now recognised as a brilliant novelist and artist. Michael Moorcock, China Miéville, Hilary Spurling and AL Kennedy celebrate his achievements
I've only read the first quarter of the first book, but it's slow slogging. Current assessment:
- Characterization: Quick and deft as Dickens--you get a vivid sense of them
- Writing: Sometimes juicy and inspired
- Setting: Unusual, labyrinthine, byzantine
- Characters: hate each other (or soon will), little development (perhaps that's the point--seems a critique on classed society)
- Plot: The characters are going nowhere very slowly
- Writing: Sometimes dry and academic
I'll keep at it to see for myself if it's worth the effort. If you're a Peake fan or not, I'd be interested in your opinion.