Book Beginnings

This morning I finished reading Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake, a fantastic book, which I’ll write more about soon. And as I’m nearing the end of the other books I’m currently reading I’m thinking about what to read next.

One, of course, will be the next book in the Gormenghast trilogy – Gormenghast. The opening paragraph is:

Titus is seven. His confines, Gormenghast. Suckled on shadows; weaned as it were on webs of  rituals: for his ears, echoes, for his eyes a labyrinth of stone: and yet within his body something other – other than this umbrageous legacy. For first and foremost he is child. (page 7)

This sets the scene, following on from Titus Groan, which began with his birth and ended with his second birthday. Five years have passed since the ending of Titus Groan and this book promises to develop his story as evil spreads throughout Gormenghast. I just know it’s going to be good.

But I like to have more than one book on the go. As well as my own books, I’ve got a fair number of library books out at the moment all vying for attention and some are due back soon. So I was thinking of reading one of those next. But out shopping today I went into the British Heart Foundation charity shop and bought We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates. I’ve been looking for this book for several years as I read somewhere it’s one of her best books. I was so pleased to find a good copy in the shop. It begins:

We were the Mulvaneys, remember us?

You may have thought our family was larger, often I’ve met people who believed we Mulvaneys were a virtual clan, but in fact there were only six of us: my dad who was Michael John Mulvaney, Sr., my mom Corinne, my brothers Mike Jr. and Patrick and my sister Marianne, and me – Judd. (page 3)

That’s a good start – introducing the family. I like family sagas. Described on the back cover as a ‘book that will break your heart, heal it, then break it again‘, it may be a roller-coaster ride and I’m anticipating it will be very good.

Book Beginnings is hosted by Katy at A Few More Pages, where you can leave a link to your own post on the opening lines of a book you’re currently reading.

7 thoughts on “Book Beginnings

  1. I’ve tried so many times to read the Gormenghast books but somehow I’ve never managed to get into them, which is surprising as I normally enjoy fantasy. Maybe your review will make me think again.


    1. What is it about the books that you don’t like? Is it the amount of descriptive passages, I wonder, because there are a lot and some are long, before getting back to dialogue and action? I find them hypnotic!


      1. I think it’s more to do with the fact that I don’t find the invented world interesting and I think where fantasy is concerned that is absolutely essential.


  2. I really like the sound of the Mulvaneys. And your quotation proves that it is not all books that should begin with a lot of action 🙂


  3. Margaret – You certainly do seem to have picked some good ‘uns! Thanks so much for sharing :-). I’ll be very interested to see what you think of the We Were the Mulvaneys especially.


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