106. The Manticore (Robertson Davies)

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 10.03.58 AMThe Manticore was my final book of 2017 and the final read for my 2017 CanadianContent BINGO card.  It fulfilled the square of a Canadian book published in my birth year (eek… 1972 for those who were wondering).

The week between Christmas and New Years was very busy and this was a slow read for me.  I did not enjoy it as much as I had loved Fifth Business and may not get around to World of Wonder, the final book in the Deptford Trilogy too quickly – that and my 2018 TBR pile is massive so choosing my next read is a challenge!

The Manticore focus on the self-discovery of David Staunton as he deals with the unusual death of his father, Boy (Percy) Staunton.  Those of you who have read Fifth Business will recall that Boy threw the fated snowball at Dunstan, which hit a pregnant woman starting a cascade of events which impacted many lives.  David traveled to Switzerland for intense Jungian therapy and as he dealt with his past and drinking problems, he shared his dreams and the recurrence of a Manticore during the night.

Dunstan is a recurrent character throughout both David’s life and this second novel.  The   reader will learn more about him and his impact on the lives of Boy, his belated wife and David and his sister.

Timing is everything in life and when reading.  One passage that strongly resonated as I recover from a broken foot and reflect on the end of 2017 was:

“During your illness I suppose you did a lot of thinking about your situation.  That is what these illness are for, you know – these mysterious ailments that take us out of life but do not kill us.  They are signals that our life is going the wrong way, and intervals for reflection.”

Somehow, it seems that the my takeaway from this passage is to slow down, to be less busy and to focus on family and self-care – likely a good message for many busy parents who are balancing work, activities, car pool, households… and the list goes on!

The Manticore is not a quick read and I am not sure how much I enjoyed the process of reading it BUT, it is a book for reflection and I did enjoy the overall story.   Davies writing and the messages of self-assessment, discovery and growth are memorable.  This is a book (series) worth revisiting if you read them in highschool where the important messages may have been lost in the teenage drama of life!


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1 Response to 106. The Manticore (Robertson Davies)

  1. Tvor says:

    I really struggled with this one. Too much “Jungian” analyses and I didn’t really feel like David came out of it any differently than going into it. I didn’t expect his personality to have any major changes but neither did he seem to understand himself and his life much more. Or maybe I just got to the point where I was skimming and didn’t take it in by the end 😉


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