I’m delighted that, following a series of broad hints (could printing out details from Amazon be broader?) this year’s birthday netted the book I most wanted: Mervyn Peake: the man and his art, compiled by his son, Sebastian Peake, and Alison Eldred. Peake has been one of my favourite authors, artists and poets since I first read him aged 14 or so, and fell in love with Gormenghast and its gruesomely captivating inhabitants. The new book is beautiful, lavishly illustrated, and contains 11 chapters with contributions garnered from Peake’s friends, family and others. The book arrived in the same week as a much-longed-for DVD of Mr Pye, perhaps these days one of Peake’s lesser-known works; filmed in 1986 as a series by Channel 4, it starred Derek Jacobi as Mr Pye, and is a delight. More on both anon – although so much has been written on Peake since I first dreamt of owl-infested towers that I feel unqualified to utter a single word.
The birthday also brought Roger Deakin’s Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees. This is another work I have wanted to read since it came out, and should provide much food for posts on Cat Musings, where I am now restricting myself to “country matters”, although perhaps not quite in the sense which Hamlet meant.
Finally, sheer indulgence, in the form of a comic book: from my younger son came the first instalment of Joss Whedon’s sequel to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. As in the television series, overall control will remain with Whedon, ensuring the integrity of the series. Apparently Buffy and the Slayers are now based in