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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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2,548395,835 (4.36)215
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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This review is for the first novel in the trilogy, Fifth Business. Robertson Davies is a master prose stylist, and I appreciated his use of language. The story is in the form of a long letter from a teacher to the headmaster of the school where he teaches. I found the story of the narrator's (Dunstable Ramsay) life and relationships with the people he grew up with to be interesting, as well as the unexpected encounters he has along the way. But the choice to present the novel as a letter written to someone else makes the events of the story seem removed and distant, so I never connected with the character. Even the amusing and tragic parts of his story seemed as though I was seeing them through a veil. The narrator more of a camera or a recorder, even to his own choices and experiences. This is a common flaw (to my mind) in literary fiction.

Although I enjoyed it for the most part, it felt like one long piece of exposition. Taking a break before reading the next novel in this collection. ( )
  TheGalaxyGirl | Aug 10, 2022 |
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 |
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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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