Read Trilogía de Deptford by Robertson Davies Natalia Cervera de la Torre Online


The plot of one of the most highly acclaimed trilogies of the 20th century revolves around the mysterious death of a business magnate. Three characters whose destinies are linked forever after a childhood snowball fight will each offer their own point of view as to who killed Boy Staunton. Alrededor de la misteriosa muerte de un magnate se teje la trama de una de las triloThe plot of one of the most highly acclaimed trilogies of the 20th century revolves around the mysterious death of a business magnate. Three characters whose destinies are linked forever after a childhood snowball fight will each offer their own point of view as to who killed Boy Staunton. Alrededor de la misteriosa muerte de un magnate se teje la trama de una de las trilogías novelescas más aclamadas del siglo XX. Tres personajes cuyos destinos quedaron unidos por una pelea infantil con bolas de nieve darán su punto de vista sobre quién mató a Boy Staunton. ...

Title : Trilogía de Deptford
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9788492663118
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 1224 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Trilogía de Deptford Reviews

  • Kinga
    2019-03-11 09:06

    How do I even begin this? I spent about two weeks reading this and that's a lot of time for people to be asking: "so what is it about?"It's usually non-readers who ask such questions because readers know better than to ask what a 800 page book is about. But I thought about it and decided that it was mostly about subjectivity of experience. Not that it made sense to anyone who asked.It was three books and each one of them a different kind of wonderful. It all starts in a small village of Deptford, Ontario. Fifth Business was like a better version of Prayer for Owen Meany. There were saints, magic and a lot of symbolism but not as heavy handed as in John Irving’s books. It’s the life story of Dunstan Ramsay, a man who has never played the main character. Even as a narrator he reduces himself to a catalyst needed for certain things to happen. As it is, it as much a story about Dunstan as it is a story about Boy Staunton, his best friend and his enemy. Dunstan is an honest and self-aware narrator but as every first person narrator should be approached with caution. After all, he does specialize in myths and likes to attribute more meaning to things than other people think it’s reasonable.The Manticore looks on many events from The Fifth Business from a different perspective and through a different medium – Jung style psychoanalysis which Boy Staunton’s son is undergoing. It’s clear that Robertson Davies is a big fan of Jung and weirdly enough this was the book I have read the quickest of all three. Nothing more exciting than uncovering different layers of a person’s psyche. It made me want to embrace and explore my own Shadow, i.e. all that’s nasty about me (like that I am a judgmental bitch).World of Wonders is when the last missing puzzle of Deptford finds its place. It’s a story about illusions and legends that we like to believe about ourselves. It really explores the theme of the first person narrator, the autobiographer – unreliable by definition. It’s also a very bizarre but beautiful love story, although Davies might be falling in his own Jung trap, because his female characters in all three books are more of Anima archetypes than characters but it’s possible he meant them to be this way as every book is written from a male point of view.Davies writes the hell out of every sentence. There aren’t any false notes. Its perfection left me amazed and I am afraid my hackneyed review won’t do it justice. I don’t even want to use any of the adjectives the blurb writers have cheapened over decades of book marketing. This review is so vapid it makes me want to cry because all I want to do is to get everyone to read this book.

  • ·Karen·
    2019-03-18 12:00

    Mr Davies is the Magus, the Magician. I'm sure this must be at least the third time that I've read Fifth Business, and it never palls. He has such an ease and breadth of narration, such elegance and gentle irony. You relax into this kind of authoritative voice, luxuriate in its reassuring comfort. And all the while the magic spell silently twists into position, so that you swallow the most unlikely of coincidences, the slightly one-sided female figures, the rather too obvious a contrast between Dunstan and his materialist counterpart, Boyd Staunton, the odd idea of Dunstan writing such a long letter to his headmaster. None of that matters. It flies, a magic carpet ride about guilt, responsibility and recognizing all the parts of your personality, the rational and the irrational. Deeply satisfying.

  • Lari Don
    2019-03-06 10:09

    A wonderful trilogy, by an incredible writer. Each of the three novels looks back on a man’s life. The first, Fifth Business, is a letter from a school teacher to his old headmaster, attempting to show that his life was much more than anyone ever saw at school, and it touches on saints, war, madness and artificial legs. The second book, The Manticore, is notes from the Jungian analysis of a wealthy Canadian lawyer, touching on archetypes, alcoholism, first love and death-masks.The third, World of Wonders, is the life story of a performer, told to a film crew as they search for a subtext to their film, touching on circuses, kidnapping, clockwork, and a very British theatrical tour.All three books are linked by Deptford, the home village of two of the men, and also the home village of Boy Staunton, the lawyer’s father, and linked by the death of Boy Staunton under odd circumstances. And each book contains unhappy men powerful in their own ways, and women who are influential but rarely comforting. However, you don’t have to be interested in saints or Jung or British theatre to love these books. The most notable thing about any Robertson Davies novel is the generous and intelligent spirit which gleams out of them. Some books make you feel the author’s intellect and learning but also make you very aware of your own lack of learning; these humane erudite books make the reader feel clever too. I didn’t feel patronised as a teenager when I read these, though I am now aware that I must have missed at least 90% of the references! As I reread them every new decade of my life, I get new mythical, religious, literary and historical references every time! I wonder if I will ever live long enough to get every single one of them? These are fabulous books, by an amazing writer. Please discover him for yourself!

  • ES
    2019-02-22 14:28

    Read most of this book under the shadow of Cortez's Cathedral in Mexico sitting by a pool and smoking really bad pot. Anyways, somebody I barely know suggested it. I'm glad he got me through a tough time. Took my mind to another place when it was in another place to begin with. Something quaint and imaginative about the way he writes, like a master storyteller with no other agenda than the story at hand.

  • Tricia
    2019-03-01 15:29

    After reading ''A Moralist Possessed by Humor': A Conversation With Robertson Davies" in the February 5, 1995 edition of the New York Times Book Review, I was intrigued by this man of mirth--a literary unknown to me--to give his books a try. If I recall correctly, the only book available at the library that day was "Fifth Business" the first in this Deptford Trilogy. As is my habit, I cracked the spine open and took in the first page, to see if the style and content piqued my interest.Needless to say, I was swept away. The first paragraph, which I would love to transcribe for you here but won't, just sealed the deal for me; I was in heaven. Davies had me from "hello."The story in all three books is complex, but let's just say it's about magic, art and religion, and the slippery line of materialism and spirituality. Dunstan Ramsey is the narrator of the first book and it is actually a letter he's composing on the occasion of his retirement from a teaching position. He is writing an autobiography really, excising his personal demons, as one does perhaps on the advent of a new stage in life. The following two novels, The Manticore and World of Wonders, are from the point of view of other central characters, so you see the arch of the entire story coming together from different points of view. Pretty cool, although Fifth Business remains my personal favorite.All the novels are definite page-turners (full of mystery!) and Davies' sense of humor makes the text lively and enjoyable. But don't just take my word for it. Here's what the New York Times had to say about Davies and this trilogy:"Though he was grandly famous by the time he died in 1995, Robertson Davies remained a writer that many readers liked to hug to themselves as a kind of secret. The Ur-Canadian, the white-bearded magus of the north, Davies was a storyteller much preoccupied with the idea of life as a many-faceted mystery. In his novels, including the celebrated Deptford Trilogy (''Fifth Business,'' ''The Manticore'' and ''World of Wonders''), he inscribed in the lives of his characters hidden destinies, patterns of correspondence and connection that--when turned just the right way in just the right light--project vivid emblems of meaning....Davies's best moments will have, I hope, this ulterior effect: they will dispatch readers to his moodily backlighted adventures of spirit, novels, like those of the Deptford Trilogy, that do not recount wisdom so much as simply manifest it."

  • Lorenzo Berardi
    2019-02-17 10:19

    From the snapshots you can find online, Robertson Davies looked like Charles Darwin with a touch of Santa Claus. The Canadian author had a long white forked beard that was strikingly demode in the 1970s when he delivered the three books of this excellent Deptford Trilogy. And yet, don't be fooled by the first appearances. You better look more carefully at the photos of Mr Davies. If you do that, you will perceive genuine wit and an eager inquisitiveness in his eyes as well as the intimidating irony of his slightly raised eyebrows. This man knew what he did and always kept himself up-to-date with the long times he lived in. If Robertson Davies chose to look from another age deserting the barbershops of Ontario, that was not a sign of personal carelessness but very much a deliberate intellectual disguise.Davies' old-fashioned long white forked beard had at the same time the gravitas of the British born naturalist and the bonhomie of the popular gift-bearer. And in between Darwin's meticolous but revolutionary cataloguing and classifying specimens and Father Christmas' magic but punctual efficiency in delivering airborne gifts, Robertson Davies' prose might be found. No surprises that reading "The Deptford Trilogy" to me has been like embarking on the Beagle with a flying open sleigh on the deck ready to take off at the author's call. Captain Davies led our brig-sloop time-machine through his story with remarkable confidence and ease leaving the Canadian shores behind with the occasional brat throwing a snowball at us from the quay. During our navigation he always had the first and the last word on board and - to his credit - he managed to keep his whole crew of characters under control without neglecting the needs of his only reader and passenger. We followed a circular route with a stopover between "Fifth Business" and "The Manticore" to welcome on board a new first narrator looking for psychoanalysis. Then, thanks to the flying open sleigh we brought along on the Beagle, we left the poor fellow on the Swiss Alps between Jung and the Jungfrau. Just in time to begin the exploration of the third stage of our trip leading us to the illusive borders of the "World of Wonders" together with a film troupe and eventually back to Deptford. Believe me, folks. You will suffer no seasickness sailing (and flying) with Robertson Davies. This guy never loses the control of his helm and - as a plus - is not afraid of pointing straight into the whirlwinds of history, politics, religion and love. That and the difficult art and consequences of dodging a snowball thrown by a brat. The magical realism and real magic you will bring back home after embarking on a journey on The Deptford Trilogy with Captain Davies are equally haunting.

  • Ben
    2019-02-25 13:30

    FIFTH BUSINESS==============This is a good book. It doesn't belong to my favorite class of artistic works, which I think of as the "Fire and Forked Lightning" variety. But it's quite good. Roberston Davies tells his tale in a slightly detached, leisurely pace that I'm tempted to attribute to his being from Canada. The story certainly doesn't hit you like a hollywood movie plot ride. It's thoughtful and takes it's time, but it's a good story -- basically the entire story of one man's life, with scope and interest and some lovely and truly felt imagery burned into the center of it.The emotional detachment author -- or the narrator, but the difference here is academic -- is part of the book, but it also renders the tale in less vivid colors than I might have liked. Or, let me say, if the narrator had been closer and more emotional about the tale, it would have been a different sort of story, maybe more in the Austen/Bronte sort of vein. The distance is interesting, it's not just bad. In exchange for the heat and draw of the extremely personal, it asks you to step back and review a life.Which leads me to the last thing I'd like to say about this book. This book does something that I find quite interesting -- it deals with symbolism and significance as a *subject* in the book, but the story itself is much more realistic. Things that seem meaningful happen, and then instead of allowing that just to be a magic of the fiction, the Davies' picks at them. His characters wonder, investigate, explode, embrace the meanings of their lives, but their lives, like real lives, do not come with this meaning officially sanctioned (Dickens) or condemned (Hardy). Once again -- quiet realism instead of the magic of high drama.

  • Kristen Olsson
    2019-02-20 14:01

    Whenever I mention this book the very few who recognize it ask me if I am Canadian.No, I am not Canadian.This book skirts a very fine line between the entirely possible and the gothically surreal. Told in trilogy form the story sprawls in the best possible way. The book is worth reading simply to gain the aquaintance of the narrating character. (I'm not sure I have crushed so hard on a literary figure since Schmendrick the Magician.)His views and musings are so fresh and well put that I, heaven shrive my soul, broke my own golden rule of no-book-marking to capture and mark numerous passages for return perusal, and return I have.

  • Michael Finocchiaro
    2019-02-17 15:08

    I know that is is supposed to be a fantastic trilogy but it really didn't do it for me. Was I too young the first time around? Perhaps. If enough GR friends push me to do so, I'll give it another shot.

  • Gumble's Yard
    2019-03-07 08:00

    Three volumes of the “Deptford Trilogy” each narrated by a different character by way of some form of memoir. Fifth Business is narrated by Dunstable (later Dunstan) Ramsay, a schoolteacher who grows up in the fictional Deptford. The novel takes the form of a letter Ramsay writes to the headmaster of the school from which he has just retired, wherein he recalls how, as a boy, he ducked a snowball wrapped around a stone intended for him. The snowball hit a pregnant woman who happened to be passing by; she gave birth prematurely as a result and then goes mad. This incident has affected Ramsay's life, and the novel tells how he comes to terms with his feelings of guilt. Intertwined with his story is the life of Percy Boyd 'Boy' Staunton, Ramsay's boyhood friend who threw the snowball, and who later becomes a wealthy businessman.The Manticore is the story of Boy Staunton's only son, David. David Staunton undergoes Jungian psychoanalysis in Switzerland. During his therapy (the book is a record of his therapy plus notes he made for his therapy), he tries to understand his father and his relationship to him. The novel is in fact a detailed record of his therapy and his coming to understand his own life. World of Wonders is the story of Paul Dempster, the son of the woman hit by the snowball, who after initially being abducted by a circus has grown up to be Magnus Eisengrim, a famous magician. Eisengrim is to portray a 19th century magician in a television movie. During lulls in the filming, he recounts his life to various people including Ramsey, including the incredible obstacles he has had to overcome, and elaborates on his career as an actor travelling through Canada in the early 20th century. To the extent there is a narrative: Ramsey encounters Dempster various times – eventually as Eisengrim and befriends him and his bizarre girlfriend Leisl including ghosting a completely fabricated autobiography. After introducing Eisengrim to Dempster the latter commits suicide the same day with in his mouth the stone his Dad threw at Mrs Dempster which Ramsey had kept as a paper weight. Ramsey is convinced Eisengrim hypnotised Staunton and effectively murdered him but it seems to have been closer to assisted suicide. Each book centres largely around myth. Ramsey becomes convinced that Mrs Dempster is a saint (especially after a vision he sees of her in WWI) and devotes his private life to the study of saints and the exploration of their role as myths. The Jungian therapists draws on various mythical individuals and roles which in her view emerge when someone repeats their life story and which repeat the earliest human myths. During Dempster’s reminiscences the various present day characters discuss storytelling, the role of autobiography and film as well as the role of myths in magic. Ramsey and Dempster believe firmly in the marvellous and the need to restore a sense of wonder to the world – David Staunton has always had a completely opposite view but finds his legal rationalism challenged by his therapy. Key related themes are good and evil, truth and illusion, history and identity, the difference between external perception and internal truth (for example Ramsey writes his letter when he realises from his leaving speech that his fellow teachers and ex-pupils see him as a boring character with no life out of school other than a quaint obsession with saints), the contrast between mundane Canadian provincial life and the bizarre worlds of saints and circuses. Fascinating book verging at many times on the bizarre – although often tedious to read and difficult to follow – the book is effectively a combination of A Prayer for Owen Meany and The Discovery of Heaven although not as good as either.

  • Bookspread
    2019-02-25 13:00

    Robertson Davies was a big fan of Jungian psychology, so if you enjoy archetypes in literature this will be a true character identification feast. How each narrator perceives the world around them plays also a big part in solving the Mysterious Death that drives the plot, so you get to play the shrink-detective.The Best: * The dialogue. Except when Magnus rambles, where it gets a bit stiff. * The female characters (except for Leola Cruikshanks and Doctor Jo) and the fact the sexiest woman in the trilogy is also the ugliest. Liesl Naegeli, I have a crush on you. * The personalities presented, which cover the range of human experience, from the lowest emotions to the best impulses. * The undercurrent of magical realism, which is subtle but sets the novel on fire from the inside. * Liesl Naegeli’s monstruosly romantic castle in Switzerland. * Paul Dempster’s metamorphosis into Magnus Eisengrim.The Worst: * Boy Staunton’s appalling comments and opinions on everything, from women to religion to child rearing to friendship. * Boy Staunton’s wives. * Boy Staunton’s (and later David Staunton’s) housekeeper. What a detestable woman! * Willard the Pedophile Wizard and his freak show colleagues.

  • Todos Mis Libros
    2019-02-19 16:19

    La primera vez que conocí éste libro fue a través de la revista de Circulo de lectores. Me llamó la atención, ya a simple vista, por su aire "vintage", de modo que decidí ponerme a indagar más sobre él. Reúne las tres partes de la trilogía: "El quinto en discordia", "Mantícora" y "El mundo de los prodigios". Yo os hablaré hoy de la primera.En todos los blogs y páginas que consultaba, solamente encontré elogios y buenas palabras, catalogando la trilogía como "obra maestra" así que me apetecía mucho hacerme con ella, lo malo era el precio. Sí, costaba casi treinta euros, ya sé que son tres libros en uno por lo tanto no salía excesivamente caro, pero me paraba un poco. Más hacia delante mi paciencia tuvo recompensa porque Círculo lo puso en oferta a casi diez euros y ya no lo pensé mas. Al fin podría constatar por mi misma si la obra era tan sumamente genial como por ahí se comentaba. Y vamos a ello...Davies es realmente un maestro, un contador de historias nato, pues logra engancharte a su lectura singrandes tramas ni sucesos demasiado reseñables.Me di cuenta de esto cuando llevaba un buen número de páginas leídas y caí de repente en la cuenta de que la obra tenía muy pocos diálogos. Esto es algo que no suele gustarme y que normalmente hace que una obra me resulte pesada, así que imaginaros la calidad literaria y de estilo que tiene este hombre (mejor dicho tenía) para lograr abstraerte y que no te des cuenta de esta carencia, si la podemos llamar así.Lo que más me gustó del libro fueron sus dos primeras partes, en las que se narra la infancia y juventud de nuestro protagonista. Pero el último tercio aproximadamente, (cuando cuenta ya con unos cincuenta años) y de ahí en adelante, se me hizo un poco más pesado.Creo que fue porque las pequeñas cosas que se van contando logran entretenerte, pero hasta cierto punto. Como lectora esperaba que me condujeran hacia alguna sorpresa final o hecho más recalcable de lo que había leído hasta el momento. Pero no, la obra mantiene su ritmo más o menos lineal pero prácticamente carente de giros que nos llamen la atención.Por lo tanto es una obra para degustar sin prisas, con una buena taza de café. Deleitarnos con su buen estilo pero sin esperar el "novelón" de nuestras vidas. Creo que con mis palabras se puede adivinar que me gustó, pero esperaba un poco más. Claro que mis géneros favoritos suelen ser otros, por lo tanto no se le puede "pedir peras al olmo" y es normal que este tipo de lecturas a mi se me puedan quedar un pelín cortas y en cambio a otro tipo de lectores les pueda llenar por completo.

  • Tyrran
    2019-03-18 13:10

    The first thing that came to my mind when I finished this books was "thank God that's over with"I really enjoyed this book when I started it, but around 1/2 to 3/4 of the way I just wanted it to end, for me that's normally a bad sign because when I love a book I'm almost depressed to finish it.The book definitely has some clever aspects to it which is easily played upon by Roberston Davies the narration is almost a triptych view of the main characters, But it's heavily based around character subjections and almost feels like I'm reading boring personal diaries who have biased opinions on everything that's said (this inevitably then involves conversations that need 6 characters involved to round out all the subjectivity)What I found really strange is that the books synopsis makes it sound very involved in "Who killed Boy Staunton?" but I honestly forgot about that perspective of the story and was reminded about it 90% through. This is probably mainly to do with the fact that the book is heavily dense in almost frivolous discussions between characters that don't contribute to anything.I have another book by Robertson Davies that I wanted to read...I think I might give myself a lot of time before indulging in that one.The book also reminded me a lot of Paul Auster's book "Mr. Vertigo" rather read that, a much better book.

  • Ellen
    2019-02-17 15:16

    I am forever indebted to my friend Donna Durham (Donna, where are you now?) for introducing me to Robertson Davies and The Deptford Trilogy. Some have described these books as examples of magical realism; well, yes, sort of, as written by a Canadian. The trilogy consists of three books: Fifth Business, The Manticore, and World of Wonders. The books each tell the same story from the point of view of a different character and center around the murder of Percy "Boy" Staunton. Fifth Business, my favorite, introduces Dunstan Ramsey on the occasion of his retirement from his longtime position as a "public" school teacher. As Ramsey narrates the events of his life, we are introduced to unforgettable characters and the recurring themes of connection and destiny, saints and madness. The Manticore explores the subconscious of David Staunton, Boy's son, through Jungian psychotherapy. Finally, World of Wonders tells the story of Magnus Eisengrim, a world famous magician whose very existence is tied to the relationship between Ramsey and his "life-long friend and enemy" Boy Staunton. Unfortunately these books are not available on Kindle; please don't let that deter you!

  • Sean
    2019-03-12 11:09

    We have educated ourselves into a world from which wonder, and the fear and dread and splendour and freedom of wonder have been banished. Of course wonder is costly. You couldn't incorporate it into a modern state, because it is the antithesis of the anxiously worshipped security which is what a modern state is asked to give. Wonder is marvellous but it is also cruel, cruel, cruel. It is undemocratic, discriminatory, and pitiless. (Liesl)Robertson Davies' three-part masterpiece is a sprawling international tale anchored by robust, multifaceted characters that slide in and out of the text like pop-up figures in a children's book. The first volume often sustained my reading fire for many pages at a sitting. Yet there were also those stretches, as often appear in any long work, where my reading gaze slackened and I pined for more compelling prose. In particular the second volume (The Manticore) was a low point (more like 3 stars), at least until toward the end of it when Davey ends his Jungian therapy and meets up with Ramsay (narrator of the first book) and Liesl (the most intriguing character of them all, yet the one whom we hear from the least), but this is rather late in the book and so comprises only a small percentage of its content. The final volume focuses on the conjuror Magnus Eisengrim, of whom my interest in fluctuated throughout the trilogy. Much of his history, narrated by himself to a small group, was fascinating to read, yet grew less so as it progressed. I must say that I experienced a degree of relief when his overblown tale came to a close. I'd been meaning to read this for years and regrettably I think my taste has now changed to a point where I didn't enjoy it as much as I would have in the past. I fear I've become too jaded in my reading. But it was still just unconventional enough in its telling to keep me interested. I'm glad I read it, if only to know what I would have missed by not reading it. Would I recommend it to others? Yes, in certain cases. Though it certainly falls into the category of realism, it's original enough in both its content and its form to appeal to a pretty wide audience. But would I recommend it to readers who studiously avoid all realist literature in favor of the avant-garde? Probably not, unless I knew the nuances of their reading preferences almost as closely as I know my own.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-03-17 11:11

    My now 81 yr. old father is a misanthropic pack-rat who lives a rich mental life through books while outwardly barely functioning as a decent man. His attic, like his mind, is insulated entirely by books and that is where I discovered Robertson Davies, who I was not expected to understand at age 15. I devoured the trilogy nonetheless and came to understand, if nothing else, the rigidness of sexuality in the first part of the 20th century as well as the religious underpinnings (guilt and an over-active imagination from lack of real sexual awareness). As a "fallen" Catholic, this resonated, not just at 15 but as a twenty-something and thirty-something, rereading the series. I also, thanks in part to Joseph Campbell, came to understand archetypes through Davies' novels, and to discover and somehow maintain a sense of wonder at the world, which we can never truly fully know.There are only two other people I have met who enjoyed this series, and while that doesn't sound like strong praise, I think it is just that, for these men were of exceptional character. One is a 70+ year old Jewish man in LA who made his fortune writing commercial music but who prefers a solitary, intellectual life—we became fast friends when he saw the book in my bag as we both enjoyed a solitary meal at a cafe. The other is an Irish restauranteur who was born in the wrong generation, marrying a woman not his equal who bore him many children who were raised with one foot in the 1980's and the other in the aughts. Needless to say, there was a strong gender imbalance and the kids were asked to grow up very quickly, to dodge unforgiving furniture in their Victorian house, and to get jobs as soon as it was legal—dynamics that made more sense as I read novels with people and plots hailing from the decades well before the 1950s. Short of reading historical non-fiction, reading Davies does seem to capture the personalities and sentiments of this earlier generation, one to which most of us alive today have no direct line.

  • Philip Jackson
    2019-03-19 15:00

    As the title implies, this book is actually three novels, Fifth Business, The Manticore and World of Wonders. Although the books differ from each other, they are all linked by the trilogy's central premise. How are we accountable for our actions, however trivial, and how far reaching are the consequences of the decisions we make?Two boys are snowball fighting in a small Canadian town at the turn of the century. One throws a snowball which contains a stone, and misses its target, hitting the pastor's pregnant wife by accident. The blow from the stone precipitates a premature labour, and leaves the pastor's wife incapacitated for the rest of her life. This one event shadows not only the lives of the two boys, but also the child who is born prematurely. It is a burden they will carry through their lives in various forms, and will shape the pattern of their lives. The novels are linked, but can be read independently with no loss of enjoyment. While the first novel is entertaining, the second wasn't really to my taste (Jungian philosophy apparently - I'm no wiser now!), but the third novel, World of Wonders is a remarkable piece of fiction, and by far the best part of the trilogy. This book follows the fortunes of the prematurely born Paul Dempster, his kidnapping by a travelling 'freak' show, and his subsequent career in the theatre. It's worth reading the whole trilogy just for this section, and it is this third novel which lifts the books onto a whole new level.

  • Donna
    2019-02-22 09:10

    Just recalled this author and the best of his trilogies. Read the review...the books are elegant, cleverly funny, inventive, never predicable...great reads! I would love to read and discuss with you!!THIS IS ANOTHER TRILOGY WE HAD DISCUSSED READING TOGETHER...I AM CURIOUS AS TO HOW I WILL LIKE THE READ, THE SECOND TIME AROUND.

  • Nate D
    2019-03-01 12:26

    I found these to be a strangely smooth, soothing reading experience. Plus, I got to learn about obscure hagiography and Jungian psychoanalysis.

  • Janet
    2019-03-03 15:17

    The Deptford Trilogy--A Canadian Bulgakov, if you can wrap your head around that--magical, dark, comedic, and mysterious. Robertson Davies deserves to be read and reread and reread.

  • Parksy
    2019-03-05 15:03

    Wonderful trilogy - my favorite of Davies trilogies...------From"Who killed Boy Staunton?"This is the question that lies at the heart of Robertson Davies's elegant trilogy comprising Fifth Business, The Manticore, and World of Wonders. Indeed, Staunton's death is the central event of each of the three novels, and Rashomon-style, each circles round to view it from a different perspective. In the first book, Fifth Business, Davies introduces us to Dunstan Ramsey and his "lifelong friend and enemy, Percy Boyd Staunton," both aged 10. It is a winter evening in the small Canadian village of Deptford, and Ramsey and Boy have quarreled. In a rage, Boy throws a snowball with a stone in it, misses his friend and hits the Baptist minister's pregnant wife by mistake. She becomes hysterical and later that night delivers her child prematurely, a baby with birth defects. Even worse, she loses her mind. The snowball, the stone, the deformed baby christened Paul Dempster--this is the secret guilt that will bind Ramsey and Staunton together through their long lives:I was perfectly sure, you see, that the birth of Paul Dempster, so small, so feeble, and troublesome, was my fault. If I had not been so clever, so sly, so spiteful in hopping in front of the Dempsters just as Percy Boyd Staunton threw that snowball at me from behind, Mrs. Dempster would not have been struck. Did I never think that Percy was guilty? Indeed I did.Boy, however, "would fight, lie, do anything rather than admit" he feels guilty, too, and so the subject remains unresolved between them right up until the night Boy's body is found in his car, in a lake, with a stone in his mouth. The second novel, The Manticore, follows Staunton's son, David, through a course of Jungian therapy in Switzerland, while World of Wonders concentrates on Magnus Eisengrim, a renowned magician and hypnotist with ties to both Ramsey and Boy Staunton.When it came to writing, three was Davies's favorite number. Before the Deptford books, he wrote The Salterton Trilogy (Tempest-Tost, Leaven of Malice, A Mixture of Frailties), and after it came The Cornish Trilogy (The Rebel Angels, What's Bred in the Bone, The Lyre of Orpheus). Excellent as these and Davies's other novels are, The Deptford Trilogy is arguably the masterpiece for which he'll best be remembered, as the combination of magic, archetype, and good, old-fashioned human frailty at work in these novels is a world of wonders unto itself, and guarantees these three books a permanent place among the great books of our time. --Alix WilberBook DescriptionFifth BusinessRamsay is a man twice born, a man who has returned from the hell of the battle-grave at Passchendaele in World War I decorated with the Victoria Cross and destined to be caught in a no man's land where memory, history, and myth collide. As Ramsay tells his story, it begins to seem that from boyhood, he has exerted a perhaps mystical, perhaps pernicious, influence on those around him. His apparently innocent involvement in such innocuous events as the throwing of a snowball or the teaching of card tricks to a small boy in the end prove neither innocent nor innocuous. Fifth Business stands alone as a remarkable story told by a rational man who discovers that the marvelous is only another aspect of the real.The ManticoreAround 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'.World of WondersThis is the third novel in Davies's major work, The Deptford Trilogy. This novel tells the life story of the unfortunate boy introduced in The Fifth Business, who was spirited away from his Canadian home by one of the members of a traveling side show, the Wanless World of Wonders.

  • August
    2019-02-27 16:27

    I guess I was at something of a low point when this book called to me from my shelves. My copy looked awful, bent and blackened, and it was only on a whim that I, a month or so earlier, decided to relieve my parents shelves of it where it had stood for 10years with little hope of being read again. That my current state should make me call for the Deptford Trilogy made perfect sense. I had read all of Robertson-Davies novels during a 2 year period about a decade or so ago. Murther and walking spirits fell into my hands by chance and after reading it I thirsted for more. Reading Robertson Davies felt like sitting in a room alone with a compassionate and wise uncle who told you stories that touched upon so many important questions a young man has about life. It was nourishment for the soul as well as a good read.The Deptford Trilogy did not disappoint the second time around either and it felt great to revisit an important book a decade later. I remember feeling so safe as a reader in RD's fictional world and upon rereading I found that the main reason for this was the cohesive and logical storyline. I am sure that RD spent a good time planning the novel before he started writing it and in an interview for CBC (that is available on youtube) he admits as much. RD puts a great emphasis on the story which, I suppose, is what makes the books a "good read". He also invests a lot in the characters, but, and this is another reason why one feels so safe and comfortable in his world, he always maintains a certain distance from them, and even when the characters do vicious things the calm, sympathetic tone of the narration is never disturbed.The style is straightforward and very readable. There is plenty of humour, although wit is probably what RD would have preferred to call it himself. If I had to name some faults (and I suppose I always do) I think they mostly have to do with what I feel is an overemphasis on the storyline. The dialogue in those big dinner scenes and the like also seemed a little contrived and I, for one, did not bother to memorize, or backpedal to reacquaint myself with, the many smaller characters in Eisengrim's circus or theater groups.

  • Sean
    2019-02-17 14:18

    I don't read; I re-read. The first time I read a book it's an audition. And the finest pleasure offered by this habit is to read a familiar, beloved work and find that it's better than you thought. I was traveling this last while, and so reread The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies for perhaps the fifth or sixth time. I'd first read it out of order, and that jostling affected all later readings. This time I took it in as a single novel in three parts, and it was much more ambitious and meaningful in that context.It is a book concerned with one of my lifelong fascinations, the way that story, especially myth, and life intertwine and affect one another. It's set in the early part of the twentieth century, and revolves around the mysterious death of a sugar magnate, and the response of a stage magician asked who had killed the man. It uses Davie's favorite form, the story of the development of the artist, repeatedly, in interlocking fashion.Elements, plot mechanisms, and a certain amount of cuteness that had previously raised an eyebrow took on a different flavor now that I've wrestled with the problem of fiction myself. The limitations, levitations, and structural functionality Davies drew from old-fashioned melodrama now remind me of what I draw from the genre fiction of 1850 to 1970, and I regard them with interest and affection.In addition, life experiences allowed me to view almost every major element the story from a more intimate perspective, and it seemed to reflect my own life in an eerie fashion. Which I think would please the author. It's a pretty terrific book.

  • Lara
    2019-02-22 16:00

    I reviewed each of the three books in this trilogy as I finished them, but I figured I'd review the series as a whole as well. I was not looking forward to reading Fifth Business much at all. And, sad to say, it was in large part due to the fact that I hated the first cover I saw of it so much. It's a stupid reason, I know.Anyway, almost as soon as I opened the thing up, I was competely hooked. Davies has such a way with words. It's not an action-packed book by any stretch of the imagination. It's a quiet, complex story, told gradually, but infused with such a sense of mystery and magic that I really felt like Davies had cast a spell over me. I devoured it and could not wait to read the next book in the series. In a way, I don't think either of the follow-ups quite match the elegance of the first book, but the second one I loved almost as much, and there are great parts in the third one as well. And in the end, I think it's a really fascinating story beautifully told, and I will admit that I am half in love with the late Robertson Davies. Heh...Anyway, I am most definitely looking forwarding to reading his other works (I have most of them already purchased and ready and waiting on my bookshelf at home). But I'm going to give this series time to really sink in first. A+++

  • Cheryl Klein
    2019-02-19 13:11

    I picked up a battered mass market paperback copy of FIFTH BUSINESS off the street in May, on the simple principle that I had heard good things about it and it was free, and stuck it in my bag as lightweight (size wise) reading for a trip to Arizona in June. These were both excellent spur of the moment decisions -- the very kind of tiny choices that Davies writes about here as influencing our whole lives.If Boy Staunton hadn't thrown the stone...If Dunstan Ramsey hadn't ducked...If Mrs. Dempster hadn't been hit, and given birth prematurely to her son Paul ...Thus do these four people's fates entwine. But while the trilogy does focus on the inner characters that impel our choices, it also pays great honor to the unknowable in those characters and in the world around them -- the mysteries of our psychology, and of what some of these characters would call fate and others God. Everyone was fully drawn and alive on the page, and Davies's prose crackles like the Swiss mountain air in which much of THE MANTICORE and WORLD OF WONDERS are set. My favorite remains FIFTH BUSINESS, which combined the focused narrator of the second book with the wide-ranging story of the third, and at less length than either; but all three were wonderfully mind-opening & refreshing to read.A friend on Twitter told me Robertson Davies is "the Gabriel Garcia Marquez of Canada," and that seems right.

  • Petra
    2019-03-02 13:07

    A wonderful trilogy."Fifth Business" is another delightful Davies story. This one follows the life of Dunstan Ramsay as he tells his story. Small events of no apparant importance come back in large, important ways. I enjoyed "The Manticore", which is told from David Staunton’s point of view. It has some overlap with Fifth Business but David’s point of view and makes them complete. David tries to come to terms with his relationship with his father through therapy. Some of the same characters come back and are seen through David’s eyes, which changes them to the reader’s eye, too, by rounding & fleshing them out.In "World of Wonders", Paul Dempster's account of his life is interesting and, at times, rather long-winded. This final book of the Deptford Trilogy did tie up all loose ends but was the most philosophical of the three books. At times, tediously so. Paul had the most interesting story to tell and yet this wasn't the most interesting of the three books. I enjoyed this trilogy and would recommend it. Of all of Davies' characters in this trilogy, Paul rose from the deepest depths to the highest pinnacles. A good story of triumph and acceptance, through diversity.

  • Komal
    2019-02-20 11:05

    I adore this book. It's about a thousand pages and I was grateful for every one of them, because I never wanted it to end. The characters became to me like people I truly knew, and they are written with such adeptness and acumen that I was half-convinced they were all real and existed somewhere. The magic of this book lasts a long time after the last page has turned.This book follows four characters over the course of their lives. It is essentially a character sketch, founded on conversations and bound and bolted by the intersections of their lives with each others'. Through it all runs the incessant undercurrent of Boy Staunton's death, as each examines and contemplates their role in it.Once you read the book you will find much, much more in it than I can convey to you in a review. It is like Davies has built an entire world, of flesh and blood, in three dimensions.

  • Judith Shadford
    2019-03-09 12:15

    This was a second read, part of checking to see how old favorites stand up after the rigors of RWW and "close reading". I am happy to announce that Robertson Davies stands up very well indeed. His ability to write an entire book within the POV of a single narrator and carry it off--is astonishing. Fifth Business, the first of the trilogy, is mesmerizing, which, given the character is in character. The second, The Manticore, isn't quite as engaging, because the narrator isn't a lovable guy. We can totally understand why he's in therapy and we hope it helps. The last book, World of Wonders, wriggles out of the single POV from time to time, to good effect, but there seemed to be a little authorial fatigue evident.Still--I still love Robertson Davies. Very glad about that.

  • Sue Tincher
    2019-03-01 09:28

    I wasn't enthralled with this trilogy that has to do with big themes of saintliness, illusion, friendship, and betrayal, played out on the little stage of a few people's lives, people who all started out in the tiny Canadian town of Deptford: Dunstan, the bachelor academic; Boy Staunton, the powerful businessman; David, drunken but brilliant lawyer and Boy's son; and Magnus, the world-famous magician. Each book in the trilogy re-examines the same lives from a different point of view. I came away feeling like I was missing something--as if the books were a big inside joke I wasn't in on.

  • Isabelle
    2019-02-20 08:24

    This trilogy deals with secrets that bind the lives of those who share them. The three books are not as linear as the other trilogies: the 3 volumes deal with the same event, the death of a character, seen from various angles. I did find interesting that the art that Robertson Davies chose to pair up the art of magic with themes such as guilt, secrets, depression, insanity and, of course, psychotherapy.