The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies

The Deptford Trilogy

Who killed Boy Staunton?Around this central mystery 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."

Details The Deptford Trilogy

TitleThe Deptford Trilogy
Release DateOct 1st, 1983
GenreFiction, Fantasy, Cultural, Canada

Reviews The Deptford Trilogy

  • Kinga
    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 wonde...
  • ·Karen·
    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 f...
  • Lari Don
    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, alcoh...
  • ES
    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.
  • Lorenzo Berardi
    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 inquisit...
  • Ben
    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 -- ba...
  • W.D. Clarke
    It's not much of a spoiler to tell you that the last sentence of this trilogy is a one-word exclamation: "Egoist!". I mention this to introduce my (probably highly unoriginal, but I have not as of yet read any criticism of RD's work) pet theory that this, second trilogy of Davies is his psychomachia ("soul-war"), in which the author explores the various elements of his own personality and how, by conflicting with each other, indirectly reveal the...
  • Kristen Olsson
    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...
  • Michael Finocchiaro
    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
    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 s...
  • Bookspread
    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 an...
  • Ellen
    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 murd...
  • Rose
    The work of some of my favorite Canadian authors – Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Carol Shields – seems to take place in an alternate universe, one that looks similar to the one I inhabit but with a different set of rules.However, the outlandish stories of Robertson Davies make me feel right at home. And he’s the one who deals most explicitly with Canada as a nationality with its own mythology and creed. But he deals with everything like tha...
  • Tyrran
    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 chara...
  • Margaret
    The Deptford trilogy revolves around the mysterious death (was it murder or suicide?) of businessman Boy Staunton; along the way it tells the life stories of Staunton's boyhood friend, Dunstan Ramsay; of Staunton's son, David; and of enigmatic magician Magnus Eisengrim. Though the books are full of Davies' trademark wit and erudition, I found that they didn't work for me as well as the Cornish trilogy or the Salterton trilogy, and the second (esp...
  • Janet
    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.
  • S̶e̶a̶n̶
    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)Robertso...
  • Elizabeth
    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 ...
  • Philip Jackson
    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 contain...
  • Lara
    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...
  • Donna
    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
    I found these to be a strangely smooth, soothing reading experience. Plus, I got to learn about obscure hagiography and Jungian psychoanalysis.
  • Vishnu
    This is tough to say but I think I feel a little let down by this trilogy. It came well recommended by people I really respect and the first volume convinced me that I wasn't misled in taking it up. A great panorama of the time and place (and not many wrote about Canada then, just as they don't now or maybe we just don't get to read many). And in that same first volume, we're introduced to these very intriguing characters, a grandiose narrator wr...
  • Mollie
    This is a tough one to review. I can absolutely appreciate the genius of taking one childhood incident and spinning up a really lengthy story about how it impacts the characters’ lives and shapes who they become. Parts of the story flew by and are so beautifully written. Other sections were just a slog. The main characters are decidedly unlikeable people and at some points I just didn’t much care what happened to them. 3.5 stars for what is a...
  • Chris Blocker
    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)...
  • Parksy
    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 introd...
  • August
    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...
  • Sean
    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 thre...
  • Cheryl Klein
    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......
  • Petra
    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 fa...