I came into contact with the works of Mervyn Peake (1911-1968) in the Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery, almost exactly on his centenary.
There was a small but very attractive show of his paintings, sketches and novels.
There's a connection to Sark, one of the smaller Channel Islands. Peake lived there for several years and one of his novels, Mr Pye is set on Sark.
I bought Mr Pye in the shop, started reading it in the tea-room and couldn't stop, something that happens very seldom.
Mr Pye goes to the island of Sark to awaken the love for God in the islanders. However, there are some unexpected developments ....
And now I'm discovering all the other parts of Mervyn Peake, the illustrator of books like Alice in Wonderland, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Bleak House, or Treasure Island, the artist, the poet, the playwright, and, of course, the writer and novelist of Gormenghast.
At the moment I'm reading the Gormenghast Trilogy.
It's the story of Titus Groan, the Seventy Seventh Earl of Gormenghast, a dark, spacious and mysterious castle full of the most incredible people, rooms and artefacts. It's a work of fantasy, very strange and very humorous. Nothing is clear-cut, as happens so often in fantasy novels. The characters are complex and eccentric like real people. It's one of those books you can dive into and just enjoy the language, the ideas behind, the atmosphere.
There's a Gormenghast film, already in my possession (;-)), but it will be watched only after having finished the book.
A lot of information can be found on the official Mervyn Peake Website. There's also a Blog by Sebastian Peake, his son.
And here's the link to a Mini-Video of the first part of the Gormenghast film.