cover image The Sunday Books

The Sunday Books

Michael Moorcock, illus. by Mervyn Peake. Overlook, $27.95 (144p) ISBN 978-1-59020-711-6

Every Sunday, British author/artist Peake (1911–1968), creator of the Gormenghast series, sat down with his sons for impromptu drawing and storytelling. The stories were never written down, but the artwork survives, and Moorcock creates new stories to pair with his late friend’s on-the-spot sketches and paintings. “The boys would sit on the arms of his chair, watching as he called on his own boyhood memories and enthusiasms... to draw pirates, cowboys, weird monsters and weirder characters,” writes Moorcock. Such subject matter is tailor-made for stories of high seas adventure and intrigue, which Moorcock supplies in a tale that works hard to link the images into a cohesive whole. The resulting story is perhaps necessarily meandering, and Peake’s caricatured portrayals of American and African natives are far from politically correct. Still, it’s an intimate window into the home life of a celebrated fantasist. (July)