These profound and moving accounts of life with Mervyn Peake provide poignant and revealing insights into the art, personality and friendships of the author of Titus Groan, Gormenghast and Titus Alone.
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(198mm x 128mm x 21mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
Two different views of the author of Gormenghast, written by his widow and his elder son. Of the two books, Maeve Gilmore is perhaps the more affecting, published soon after her husband's death in 1968. Her writing is fresh and evocative on their courtship and the early years of their marriage, increasingly bitter as she describes the twists of fate which rendered them permanently penniless. Her final account of the progress of the nervous disease which left Peake a prisoner in his own body, prematurely aged and unable to write or draw, is almost too painful to read. Years later, their son Sebastian describes himself as a directionless 'emotional misfit'. It's difficult to understand why his otherwise solicitous parents did not remove him from the Catholic boarding school at which he experienced such sadism, sad to witness his fruitless adult attempts to escape the shadow of his tragic but glamorous family. 'On leaving home I aimed like the successful salmon to leap the highest rapids but I was dragged back by the underflow and pull of the sea, so that like the unsuccessful salmon, I languished in the shallows,' he confesses. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Sebastian Peake
Maeve Patricia Mary Theresa Gilmore was born in London in 1918. Her Irish father was a surgeon from Co. Down and her mother the daughter of the owner of the Western Mail. Maeve grew up in Chelsea and was sent as a boarder to the Convent of the Holy Child in Hastings. At seventeen she spent a year at a Swiss finishing school. When she returned to London she enrolled as a student at the Westminster School of Arts, where on her first day she met Mervyn Peake. Despite disapproval from her father Maeve continued to meet with him and they married in December 1937. Maeve Gilmore died in August 1983 at the age of sixty-five, surviving her husband by fifteen years. The eldest of Mervyn Peake and Maeve Gilmore's three children, Sebastian was brought up in London, Kent, Surrey and Sark and in his childhood attended nine different schools. A keen interest in languages took him to Europe where he lived in various countries for almost five years. On his return he worked in shops and breweries and set up his own transport, and painting and decorating companies before becoming involved in the wine trade. He now runs his own wine company. Sebastian Peake has a son and three daughters and lives in London.