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The Manticore [Paperback]

Robertson Davies
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 24 2005 0143051393 978-0143051398

Around a mysterious death is woven a glittering, fantastical, cunningly contrived trilogy of novels. Luring the reader down labyrinthine tunnels of myth, history and magic, The Deptford Trilogy provides an exhilarating antidote to a world from where 'the fear and dread and splendour of wonder have been banished'.


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Review

"Davies' Deptford Trilogy is one of the splendid literary enterprises of this decade."— -- Peter Prescott, Newsweek

"Lucid, concise, beautifully phrased, rich in drama and in relentless penetration of character, this novel is a synthesis of narrative and idea that never ceases to be a superior entertainment as well."— -- Library Journal --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Robertson Davies (1913–1995) was born and raised in Ontario, and was educated at a variety of schools, including Upper Canada College, Queen’s University, and Balliol College, Oxford. He had three successive careers: as an actor with the Old Vic Company in England; as publisher of the Peterborough Examiner; and as university professor and first Master of Massey College at the University of Toronto, from which he retired in 1981 with the title of Master Emeritus.
 
He was one of Canada’s most distinguished men of letters, with several volumes of plays and collections of essays, speeches, and belles lettres to his credit. As a novelist, he gained worldwide fame for his three trilogies: The Salterton Trilogy, The Deptford Trilogy, and The Cornish Trilogy, and for later novels Murther & Walking Spirits and The Cunning Man.
 
His career was marked by many honours: He was the first Canadian to be made an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, he was a Companion of the Order of Canada, and he received honorary degrees from twenty-six American, Canadian, and British universities.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing Oct. 14 2006
Format:Paperback
An outstanding addition to the trilogy. Davies takes a sidestep here to add a Jungian perspective into his stories. This part of the trilogy is exciting and illuminating as its uniqueness and flair leaves us with the same characters we're learning to know and love and shows them to us from a different perspective, a trip, like a daydream in the middle of a classic!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than 'Fifth Business' April 5 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I was compelled to read this book on a bet: we were doing some character-study work after reading Fifth Business in class, and a group member and I disagreed about a point -- I won't state it, as to not spoil Fifth Business for anybody, but when the issue was brought to our teacher, as I predicted, he told us to read the rest of the trilogy (though it would have been easier just to answer the question -- but much less rewarding).
Anyway, I read it. It's great. Only Davies could have taken Jungian psychology and interspersed it throughout this novel so evenly and so effectively. A book like this could easily have become boring or heavy, but it is always entertaining and infinitely informative. David Staunton's life is by some measures mediocre, but his personal journey is deep and lively, as few writers could have portrayed it.
It is also one of the few books that actually change your view on the world. That is an over-used phrased often misplaced, but it is true here; as an introduction to Jungian psychology, this is as good as it gets: all the ideas and facts to be found in a text, but with a superior story woven with it.
Simply put, read the thing!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars like Magic Mountain without the politics April 14 2001
Format:Paperback
Okay, so the comparison to Mann's work is a bit far fetched, but this book is a Jungian exploration of our main character's consciousness. Thanks to the convention of having Davey recount his story to his shrink, we feel a bit detached and disoriented. There is an element of almost-mysticism and we trace all the paths of Davey's mind and experiences. How did this famous criminal lawyer become such an incorrigible drunk and why does he check himself into Zurich for analysis? Unfortunately I read Fifth Business 4 years ago, so I can't remember any of the story line or comment on the relation of this book to the first. It seems to me though that this book does not depend on the first book in the series. I plan to read World of Wonders next, so I'll have more to say about the relation.
Back to this book -- it's extremely engrossing with penetrating descriptions of all the characters in Davey's life and a curiously detached view of his life. I couldn't put it down, even at the end when the mystical element almost gets out of hand and he literally climbs the mountain and crawls through a primal cave. Even if you don't buy all the Jungian stuff, Davies is such a good and interesting writer that most should enjoy the experience. As a social commentator, he reminds me of Thomas Wolfe. A gripping read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Second Best Dec 31 2000
Format:Paperback
Based in Switzerland on terms based on the first book of the Deptford epic, our main character finds himself on leave to discover the answer to his problems in life and unravel the mystery of this trilogy.
Through out the book Davies places emphasis on Psychological ethos and technique as well as expressing the extremes of the human ego and sexual desires. Davies however, is a story teller. Throwing aside callous and unnecessary detail and drawing upon less used characters from Fifth Business, Robertson brings us down a compelling though sometimes debatable path of a man coming to terms with who he is and what his life has been lived for. Occasionally the main Character drags on with seemingly unrealistically long narratives.
Ramsay the Hero of Fifth Business (the first installation of the Deptford Trilogy) seems to receive a bad review from the main character of the Manticore. This enrages the reader who remains faithful to Ramsay but whom is trying to keep up with our new main character. The Manticore requires an open mind, more so then fifth business and is a long and drawn out read. However with the third and best book only pages away it is a must read for those who desire a satisfying epic. Second best. Four stars.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Running at a tangent Nov. 2 1999
Format:Paperback
Book 2 of the Deptford Trilogy. In an odd way, this book runs at a tangent to the two massive novels that frame it, Fifth Business and World of Wonders. It is tightly focused on a minor character from the other two novels and does not drive the story forward. At the end of the book the reader is left a bit nonplussed -- where is the scope and epic nature from Fifth Business? But the "trilogy" is not intended to be a serial. This becomes clear upon completion of the three. This book serves to deepen the reader's appreciation for the themes expressed in Fifth Business and which culminate, if a theme can culminate, in World of Wonders. The reader who pays attention (a pleasant requirement for Davies's greatest novels) finds himself engrossed in a sad, exhuberant, and contradictory life, and also gains some clues about the other two novels. This book could really stand alone, outside of the "trilogy". Mr. Davies was not a slave to convention (although he certainly understood convention both theatrical and novelistic) and would have found the task of a serial across three books both frustrating and pointless. None of his three (not four, thanks to Father Time) "trilogies" are serials: they simply explore similar themes and share a few characters and -- important to Davies as playwright and keen fan of poetry -- setting and atmosphere.
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