Flay has spent his whole life – a long one – in the stiflingly familiar circuits and rituals of serving the Earl of Gormenghast, barely leaving the sprawling, mossy, solid walls of the castle. It is his home and as near as he has to a family, even with the war he wages against the hated cook Swelter.
So when he finds himself on the wrong side of the walls, banished in disgrace, he gapes into an abyss of rejection.
A moment of compassion for anyone feeling a ‘crater-like emptiness’.
‘As yet, for him, the horror of his ostracization was too close for him to grasp – only the crater-like emptiness.’
Source: Mervyn Peake, Titus Groan, introduction by Anthony Burgess (London: Vintage Books, 1998), p. 390