Sourdust is the aged, dusty, crumbling Master of Ceremonies and custodian of endless ritual, rites and rules in the world of Gormenghast castle, having digested a thousand tomes of protocol. He shuffles and coughs his way in reminding the Earl, Countess and their minions of where and when they should be, and what they should do and say when they get there. Nobody thinks to disregard his instructions and upon his death, his son takes over.
Here is a description of his appearance, much resembling the material of the ancient bound volumes he refers to in his scheduling.
‘His face was very lined, as though it had been made of brown paper that had been crunched by some savage hand before being hastily smoothed out and spread over the tissues.’
See also our bestellar review of this book, with its lavishly illustrated quote-mosaic, packed with fine phrasing and fresh metaphors.
Source: Mervyn Peake, Titus Groan, introduction by Anthony Burgess (London: Vintage Books, 1998), p. 52
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