Clarice and Cora are two halves of an insane echo-chamber – a pair of identical twins who need to get out more.  They live in the south wing of a vast pile of masonry, drawing life force from the rankling resentment of apparently lost power.

They are so batty that any perceived power they ever had was probably no more than mere trappings. But that doesn’t stop them seething for decades. Here they charmingly explain their particular attachment to roofs as a metaphor for that longed-for power.

Elsewhere they demonstrate what happens when people have too much time on their hands and not enough brains.  Wonderful characters to meet in a book, but you’d turn on your heels and scarper if you ever encountered them.

‘I like roofs’, said Clarice; ‘they are something I like more than most things because they are on top of the houses they cover, and Cora and I like being over the tops of things because we love power, and that’s we are both fond of roofs.’

‘That’s why,’ Cora continued.  ‘That’s the reason …’

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 (London: Vintage, 1998), p. 200

Photo credit: Gallila-Photos at


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