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The Cunning Man (1994)

de Robertson Davies

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

Sèrie: Unfinished Trilogy (2)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaConverses / Mencions
1,454269,705 (3.87)1 / 39
Dr. Jonathan Hullah, a former police surgeon with "a high degree of cunning," is shocked when St. Aidan's Father Hobbes drops dead during church services. What made the good--and perfectly healthy--clergyman die so suddenly? To solve the mystery, Dr. Hullah whisks us on a fascinating tour of his own rich and highly observant life.… (més)
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» Mira també 39 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 26 (següent | mostra-les totes)
I am disappointed with Davies's last novel, The Cunning Man" from 1994 and the second novel of his unfinished "Toronto Trilogy". His second trilogy, from the early 1970's, the "Deptford Trilogy", with "Fifth Business", "The Manticore" and "World of Wonders" comprises three near-masterpieces and whopping good reads which should be on anyone's list. I was hoping for more here. Instead we have a novel of minimal general interest about older people, reminding this reader of Joseph Heller's followup to "Catch-22" the unlamented but undervalued "Something Happened", again about older people and showing diminished writing mastery. I did rather enjoy some time ago "Murther and Walking Spirits", Davies's first novel of the Toronto Trilogy.

Readers who might find this novel of interest are not old people, of whom I am one, but rather Canadians, especially those from Ontario, where the action takes place, and perhaps also readers of about 22 years who begin to be curious about the way life may look to an intelligent and observant (and frank) guy of about thrice that age, namely the physician of fairly unconventional methods who is the first-person main character.

Do read the Deptford trilogy. ( )
  KENNERLYDAN | Jul 11, 2021 |
A very thoughtful reflection on what it means to be a healer. ( )
  Neil_Luvs_Books | Apr 6, 2021 |
A witty and thoughtful book of musings in a form of a fictional autobiography. Makes me wish I was Canadian so I could more easily understand the context but most of it has travelled well. I think it's a mark of good storytelling when you bond with a character and understand his motives even if you disagree with him. But otherwise the cunning man wouldn't be such an unusual and interesting character. ( )
  Paul_S | Dec 23, 2020 |
This is quite possibly the most pompous book I have ever read. I lost interest around p. 200. This was one of those books in which I show my dislike by annotating with bright sticky notes, expressing my displeasure and providing commentary. ( )
  littlebookjockey | Sep 15, 2020 |
Masterful writing...which is why I read Robertson Davies. Even when characters digress into philosophical discussions, I feel as if I am in on a conversation among friends. Great characters and so many thought-provoking ideas! This one, however, is not my favourite as I found much of the humour rather juvenile. ( )
  LynnB | Sep 12, 2020 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 26 (següent | mostra-les totes)
"This is a wise, humane and consistently entertaining novel. Robertson Davies's skill and curiosity are as agile as ever, and his store of incidental knowledge is a constant pleasure. Long may he continue to divert us."
 

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (2 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Robertson Daviesautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
BascoveAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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Cunning men, wizards, and white witches, as they call them, in every village, which, if they be sought unto, will help almost all infirmities of body and mind.... The body's mischief's, as Plato proves, proceed from the soul: and if the mind be not first satisfied, the body can never be cured.


Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621)
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For Brenda, and our daughters Miranda, Jennifer and Rosamond
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In my experience snobbery sometimes means no more than a rejection of what is truly inferior, and if mankind had never been fastidious I do not suppose that haute cuisine would ever have displaced hunks of meat parched over a smoky fire.
My great book I had decided to call The Anatomy of Fiction ... It would, of course, be a work of extrapolation, working from the known, as given by the author about an imaginary (but not therefore unreal) character, to well-researched and intelligently guessed-at elements which the author was probably aware of but which the conventions of his time did not permit him to describe. As a doctor, I could not conceive that he might have chosen to omit such details from reasons of literary choice; surely the health, physical state, and living conditions of his characters would be of absorbing interest to him? ... A commentary, a sort of footnote to that part of the Divine Drama in which Fiction has a place.
Why did Micawber lose his hair? Want of kerotin? ... What did Jane Eyre, as a governess in a gentleman's house, get to eat? ... What conclusions can we draw about the menstrual cycle of Emma Bovary? How did Nana avoid having babies? ... Only a partial estimate can be made of the quality of a life unless we know something about the defecatory habits of the patient. ... What was the condition of Miss Havisham's bowels, sitting all day in a wheelchair as she did? Intestinal stasis can have a profound influence on the personality. ... many women in fiction spent a great part of their life on sofas. Why? What ailed them? ... To deal with the Boozer in Lit. would mean that I should have to embark on a work of many volumes.... What do people die of, in fiction? Children frequently ... have no clear symptoms, and seem to die of Ingrowing Virtue. Would it be possible to define in broad medical terms something that could be called Heroine's Disease ...?"
Because of that duplicitous little miss Ellen Ternan, Dickens managed to make an astonishing number of people other than himself miserable, and unlike Ibsen or Trollope [who also fell for much younger women] he wanted a physical fulfilment of his daft passion. Whether he got it or not remains a mystery; photographs of Miss Ternan do not suggest a passionate or even a normally warm nature.
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Dr. Jonathan Hullah, a former police surgeon with "a high degree of cunning," is shocked when St. Aidan's Father Hobbes drops dead during church services. What made the good--and perfectly healthy--clergyman die so suddenly? To solve the mystery, Dr. Hullah whisks us on a fascinating tour of his own rich and highly observant life.

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