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The Deptford Trilogy (1970)

de Robertson Davies

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

Séries: The Deptford Trilogy (Omnibus 1-3)

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2,365384,750 (4.35)211
Fifth Business Ramsay 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 Manticore 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'. World of Wonders This 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.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 38 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
It was good. I wanted to like it because so many say it is such a great trilogy. And I can see why it is so revered. But it is not as good as The Cornish Trilogy and not as laugh out loud funny as the Salterton Trilogy. ( )
  Neil_Luvs_Books | Apr 6, 2021 |
M.1.2
  David.llib.cat | Oct 22, 2020 |
The Deptford Trilogy is comprised of three books. (Go figure!) They are Fifth Business, The Manticore, and World of Wonders. This is my first outing with the author, Robertson Davies, but apparently he was big on trilogies. He wrote all of his novels as part of a cycle comprised of three books. The Deptford Trilogy, finished in 1975, was his second.

Generally, I do not read multi-volume works (I want the credit for having read each book after all), but in the case of Davies, it seemed appropriate. From the moment I first heard of this book, I thought of The Deptford Trilogy as one complete novel. And maybe that's a mistake, because while the three novels that make up this trilogy tell one complete story, each is done in such a differing manner that thoughts and opinions on each novel vary widely. So let's briefly take a look at each novel...

Fifth Business is superb. Davies created some wonderful characters and placed them in a story that is always moving. This first one is narrated by Dunstan Ramsay, a character who is close to the story and grows with it. Overall, the pace is great, though it drags a little in the second half. So much happens in this first novel. Other than the lack of a fully satisfying conclusion, Fifth Business easily stands on its own as a novel.

The second novel, The Manticore, slows everything down. The narrative switches to a character on the fringe of the story, the son of Boy Staunton. David Staunton, a tiresome attorney, relays the details of his life to his therapist. Doesn't sound that exciting, does it? It's not. Largely, this second book is not needed for the larger story. Sure, it adds some questions about the subjectivity of Ramsay's story, and gives the reader a different perspective. As David is just a priggish bore, however, The Manticore lacks the drive of the first novel.

World of Wonders returns the narrative to Ramsay, but as a channel through which Paul Dempster tells his story. This trilogy is all about the relationship between Dunstan, Boy, and Dempster, so it's nice that it returns to focus on these three in the third book. This final volume is not as riveting as the first, but it adds some dimension to it in providing a perspective previously unseen. World of Wonders is a satisfying conclusion to a story that has its high points and low points.

Looking at The Deptford Trilogy as a whole, what's startling to me looking back is the simplicity of the story. After over 800 pages, I realize this story is really all about the snowball that is thrown on page 2. Sure, it's also a story about myth, madness, and magic, but it's all wrapped up in that snow-covered stone. That single toss of a snowball has a dramatic effect on these characters, and Davies does a fabulous job of allowing that one act to haunt the rest of the story. This is an excellent display of storytelling. I will assuredly have a go at another of Davies’ trilogies, though whether I read it as one volume or as three has yet to be decided. ( )
1 vote chrisblocker | Oct 22, 2018 |
Wow! I'm not sure if I'd say this was a good book, but it is one that will stick with me for a long time. I learned a lot about mythology, and fantasy. I learned more about human dynamics. I had to put the book down after I read Fifth Business, as I was so angry. Jungian psychology makes me angry, it's so sterotypical. It's like you can't escape how you are, it's your type. But after a year, I picked up the book and finished it. ( )
1 vote KarlaC | Mar 26, 2018 |
I read the omnibus edition of the trilogy.

The Deptford Trilogy is an excellent 500-page book imbedded in a more-than-800-page mediocrity.

Ostensibly, the trilogy is a history about however many people from the same small Canadian town (Deptford), which ultimately revolves around uncovering the truth about the murder (or suicide) of (Percy Boyd) Boy Staunton, wealthy sugar entrepreneur, political aspirant and indefatigable womanizer. The three parts of the trilogy are told from the perspectives of Staunton's childhood frienemy Dunstable (later, "Dunstan") Ramsay, David Staunton - Boy's son, and Magnus Eisengrim (nee Paul Dempster).

I do not think much of the work. The first part (Fifth Business) starts with great promise: Ramsay narrates, and draws the reader into the book effectively, reminiscing about a fight between him and Boy as 10-year-olds. The fight ends with Boy throwing a snowball (in which Boy had imbedded a large rock) at Ramsay, which Ramsay ducks, whereupon the snowball catches pregnant Mrs. Dempster in the back of the head. This causes Mrs. Dempster to go into labor; it also somewhat damages her mind.

A son is born to the Dempsters, and is named Paul. Ramsay takes it upon himself to attend to the needs of Paul and his mother, and does so actively until Paul's father (a fire-and-brimstone minister) catches Ramsay teaching Paul card tricks. For his part, Boy does not accept responsibility for his act; Ramsay lives with the guilt for the remainder of his life.

In The Manticore, narration is by Boy's son David. Boy was found in his car after having driven at high speed off a pier and into a lake. In his mouth was found the same rock he had put in the snowball he threw at Mrs. Dempster. David believes his father was murdered, but the official finding is suicide.

The third part of the trilogy (Worlds of Wonder) is told (for the most part) from the perspective of Magnus Eisengrim, a name assumed by Paul Dempster after he runs away from home. It does give an account of Paul's life, although - to be honest - by the time the reader gets to the third part, there's really little that needs to be added.

On the whole, the trilogy is full of promise, and the first book almost delivers on its promises ... but not quite. By the end of the second book a very good story has been told, although there are a few missing pieces. Any hopes that the third book would resolve everything, however, are ill-founded. Book three is almost a perfect waste of space.

To my mind, the third book simply underlines and writes in boldface problems that plague the entire trilogy: the work is at root pompous, pretentious, prolixity. This is especially true of book three. From start to finish, Worlds of Wonder is a contrivance. It serves no function that couldn't have been served by a 100-page synopsis. Take that, and remove the excess verbiage from the first two books, and you would have a 500-page incredibly entertaining book. As it is, I felt that I had been thoroughly abused by the time I finished the third book.

If you really want to enjoy the Deptford series, read the first two books and leave it at that. ( )
  jpporter | Jul 16, 2016 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Davies, Robertsonautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
BascoveArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Suart, PeterIlustradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Fifth Business
Fifth Business ... Definition
Those roles, which being neither those of Hero nor Heroine, Confidante nor Villain, but which were nonetheless essential to bring about the Recognition or the dénouement, were called the Fifth Business in drama and opera companies organized according to the old style; the player who acted these parts was often referrred to as Fifth Business.
--Tho. Overskou, Den Danske Skueplads
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Fifth Business
My lifelong involvement with Mrs Dempster began at 5.58 o'clock p.m. on 27 December 1908, at which time I was ten years and seven months old.
The Manticore
When did you decide you should come to Zürich, Mr. Staunton?
World of Wonders
"Of course he was a charming man."
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Fifth Business Ramsay 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 Manticore 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'. World of Wonders This 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.

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