18 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
For a while, now, I have resisted reading the work of Mervyn Peake. My brief prior exposure to his famous *Gormenghast* trilogy gave me the sense that his work was more grotesque than weird, and that it would require more than an opium-tinged Dickensian nightmare with Gothic overtones to hold my interest.
I had mentioned my views (or prejudice, if you prefer) regarding Peake during an online discussion at a Clark Ashton Smith forum, and one of the forum members recommended that I start with *Boy in Darkness*. A few years passed before I was able to take his advice, but I recently read *Boy in Darkness*, and my prejudice regarding Peake has vanished.
*Boy in Darkness* describes the boy Titus's escape from one living nightmare, his absurdly ritualized existence at the family castle, into a nightmare of another order. Impelled by a pack of silent, ominous hounds, Titus crosses a river into an even stranger realm, a depopulated land of strange animal-human hybrids, only two of which remain. The two surviving creatures, a darkly sly and sycophantic Goat and a brutish, bone-crunching Hyena, compete for the favor of a Dr. Moreau-like figure, the Lamb, who rules the land with a demiurge's omnipotence. The Lamb has plans for Titus, as well....
Thomas Ligotti once wrote of H.P. Lovecraft that what he most admired about Lovecraft was his creation of fiction that portrays the world as an "enchanting nightmare". In that sense, and contrary to the assertion of another reviewer, Peake and Lovecraft have much in common.
Peake's evocative, complex, and rich descriptive language creates a horrific yet marvellous atmosphere, one that simultaneously repels and attracts. The creation of such atmospheres is obviously Peake's aim, and not the delineation of detailed characters and the weaving of intricate plotlines. It seems to me that one ought to critique an author by how well he succeeds in realizing his apparant intentions, and not by how completely he panders to the reviewer's preconceptions and narrow-minded expectations. By the criteria I propose, Peake thoroughly succeeds in his aim. That said, I do agree with those who feel that the ending is somewhat rushed, but that flaw, to me, is a minor one when compared to the tremendous power that the book as a whole conveys.
In conclusion, if you are any of the following, then you should avoid this book:
--A person who rushes to judgment because the author misuses a word (which could well have been the fault of the editors or the proofreaders, by the way; have such textual nitpickers actually examined Peake's original manuscript, one wonders?);
--A dullard who, failing to understand that the essence of the finest horror is its *power of suggestion*, requires that every detail be made expilcit, and that every loose end be neatly tied;
--A person who makes unfounded (to the point of idiocy) judgmental remarks, such as the author "was mentally disturbed";
--A person who expects a *Great Expectations*-level of intricacy of plotting and characterization in a 114-page book.
Those, on the other hand, who appreciate elegant, poetic, descriptive writing, and dark atmospheres, will relish the book, as I have. Highly recommended.