The Papers of Samuel Marchbanks Paperback – Dec 7 1989
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From Library Journal
In this collection of his newspaper pieces, mostly from the late Forties, Davies introduces us to his alter ego, a mildly irascible curmudgeon whose opinions and observations have been so popular in Canada that three volumes of his columns have been published there: The Diary , The Table Talk , and The Garland of Miscellania. Davies has re-edited them to produce a single volume and in the prefatory "A Drink with Marchbanks" even given us his own view of the journalist he created. A pleasant entertainment covering such diverse topics as politics, theater, and manners, this volume offers a humorous and insightful picture of postwar Canadian life as seen through the eyes of a delightful eccentric who reminds this reader of a boozeless W. C. Fields. Charles Bishop, English Dept., Univ. of New Orleans
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
I especially enjoyed how Marchbanks relayed his numerous (and somewhat predictable) battles with his furnace, during the Canadian winter. This is an easy book to read - suitable for short, quick, bursts (because it is written that way), or for a long stretch beside a fire with a warm blanket on a cold night.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The Diary is a record of his day-to-day life over a year, with several amusing plot-lines running through it. The Table Talk is just that--a collection of Marchbanks' favourite prandial conversations (or monologues as the case may be). The Miscellanea are letters and various papers, as well as an interview of Marchbanks by Davies.
This is an extremely funny collection of fiction. Although knowledge of early twentieth-century Canadian life helps, it's not necessary.
Marchbanks is definitely not for everyone. If you haven't read enough Davies before you attempt this collection, you might very well stop reading in disgust at some of the silly items, or perhaps misunderstand the intent of the items. For example, some of them suggest that Davies has been annoyed by some human stupidity and chooses an oblique way of showing his disgust by having Marchbanks exaggerate a similar situation. Only a complete faith in Davies kept me reading beyond the first few pages. (So very glad I did!)
Throughout the book character-types are introduced as letter-writers to Marchbanks; these characters reappear at intervals, building a continuing story of their foibles. Marchbanks, too, writes letters, mostly to his lawyers or government officials. E.g., Davies resentment of Canadian taxes is illustrated through Marchbanks' letters to "Haubergeon Hydra", Davies representative civil servant.
Throughout the collection you'll find sarcasm, whimsey, cynicism, thinly-disguised anger and pure nonsense (viz., Chief Thunderbelly, the indigent Caucasian who passes himself off as a native American). Perhaps one has to be a bit of a cynic to enjoy Marchbanks; it certainly isn't a good introductory book to Davies. As for me, I've been wallowing in the book.