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Manticore (The Deptford Trilogy #2)

3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,018 Ratings  ·  190 Reviews
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'.
Paperback, 310 pages
Published January 4th 1977 by Penguin Canada (first published 1972)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dec 18, 2013 Terry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian
I wavered between demoting this to a 3 star (really 3.5) and keeping it at a 4, but I think it deserves a 4 even if it isn’t near my favourite of Davies’ work and is, I think, the weakest of the Deptford trilogy. We were first given an account of the small town of Deptford, and the players who would be the major cast of characters in the series, in Fifth Business under the guiding hand of Dunstan Ramsay. Now we see things from a different angle: David Staunton, the hard drinking criminal lawyer ...more
Ben Babcock
The Manticore begins by betraying us. Dunstan Ramsay, that incorrigible saint-chasing old man who provided the heart and soul and voice of Fifth Business, is no longer our narrator. Instead, this is the story of David Staunton, the son of Dunstan's lifelong frenemy, Boy Staunton. At the end of Fifth Business, Boy dies, and now David has gone to Zurich seeking the wisdom of a Jungian analyst to make sense of his behaviour since his father's death. Partly an exploration of the psychology of Jung a ...more
Продолжаю переслушивать Дептфордскую трилогию и очень довольна; Робертсон Дэвис умный и не занудный, как жаль, что с авторами такое редко случается.
I love the way that Robertson Davies chooses narrators--after Fifth Business, I would probably have continued using Dunstan Ramsey as a narrator (and indeed Davies returns to him in the third novel, World of Wonders). But my inclination would not have been nearly as interesting. Instead, by choosing Boy Staunton's son, David, as the focus, it gives this second novel a different tone.

This is probably as close as I will ever get to Jungian analysis--and I enjoyed a peek into the process. Davies i
Me: You simply HAVE to read "The Manticore", by Robertson Davies.

Customer: What's it about?

Me: Well it's about this insufferable middle-aged lawyer who drinks to forget his fabulously wealthy upbringing. He is so unhappy he decides to undergo Jungian analysis in Switzerland for a year or so. The story is told via entries from his therapeutic journal.

Customer: I'll take eight!

I have decided that describing the premise of a Robertson Davies novel is pointless. That is unless, you want to deter som
Jan 26, 2016 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the second volume of the acclaimed Deptford Trilogy, we switch narrators, from Dunstan “Boy” Staunton, to his son David. David is a successful lawyer but is a heavy drinker and is emotionally stunted. He travels to Zurich to receive therapy and to deal with his haunted past and the looming shadow of his, indomitable father.
David Staunton is a difficult main character and readers may find him cold and reserved, but in Davies, deft and crafty hands, he has created another sharp and inventive na
Alan Chen
Mar 10, 2015 Alan Chen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Second part of this trilogy moves away from the perspective of Dunstan and is focused on Boy's son David. The book starts where the Fifth Element ends with the death of Boy. Shortly after his funeral Boy has a psychological crisis and flees to the Swiss Alps for psychoanalysis under a disciple of Jung. He relates his life story: how ends up being 40 and unmarried with an alcoholic problem. He talks about the events covered in the first book but we get a different perspective. We learn more about ...more
Kim Fay
Apr 10, 2011 Kim Fay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this follow-up to "Fifth Business," the main character, David Staunton, tells his therapist: "Ramsay always insisted that there was nothing that could not be expressed in the Plain Style if you knew what you were talking about." This is an apt description for Davies' style - his eloquence is in his simplicity. Picking up where "Fifth Business" left off, "The Manticore" switches protagonists, moving from Dunstan Ramsay to Staunton, the son of Ramsay's childhood friend/enemy. Staunton's father ...more
Jackie "the Librarian"
Oct 21, 2007 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: if you like character studies
Don't read this book on its own. It is the middle book of the Deptford Trilogy, a masterpiece of quirky details and great flawed characters. Like Cormier, but without the cynicism. So, start with Fifth Business before you pick this book up.
David Staunton, poor little rich boy, the thrower of that fateful snowball, a boy impressed by his rich father for the wrong reasons. He is in Switzerland for Jungian therapy, and we get his perspective on those childhood events that lead to a mysterious death
Victor Sonkin
The second book of the Deptford trilogy deals with David Staunton, the son of the formidable Boy Staunton, the (initially sugar) tycoon already familiar from "Fifth Business." While a little inferior to FB, it is nevertheless a wonderful narrative. My main complaint is its rather inconclusive ending (though the scene in the bear cave provides a very substantial crescendo finale of sorts).

This is, in part, a book about Jungian analysis —but it is much more than that. The whole story of David's li
Nov 14, 2012 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2012
This is the second book in Davies' Deptford Trilogy, following Fifth Business. Here we have David Staunton as the main character, and he provides a viewpoint much more cynical and sarcastic than did Dunstan Ramsay. It is illuminating to have David's perspective on some of the events that happened in or were hinted at during Fifth Business, but the feeling in this book is much more clinical and less romantic than in its predecessor. As a narrator, Ramsay had a way of coloring things with wonder - ...more
Jan 24, 2012 Lara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
Ah, Jungian psychology! I finished Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf just before I read The Manticore and felt like Hesse was just beating me over the head with his Jungian psychology throughout the entire story. I was not a fan. And so when I realized that this book is also totally steeped in it, I got a little nervous. But I needn't have. Somehow, even though the entire first two-thirds of this book consists of a guy talking to his analyst, it still never felt anywhere near as heavy-handed as Steppe ...more
Can't say that I fully understood this book because I didn't. It was interesting to see David's perspective on His father and the way he influenced his life as well as the other characters previously introduced in the first novel. I very much enjoyed the last 40 pages or so and I thought the ending was truly beautifully written. Although this book lacked the exciting quality of adventure that was fully present in the first book, this book was nonetheless beautifully written and some of the image ...more
I have of late felt lost in time, and reading Robertson Davies hasn't helped. This book is a troubling palimpsest for me. My high school years were always influenced by strains of Jungian theory, which is horrible in how appropriate it is. The primary English teacher was a fan of Jung and Davies and it played a particularly large role in the Grade 12 English course, particularly the much-anticipated day when the class would go through the "Jungian Journey" ("Imagine yourself in a forest..."). I ...more
May 31, 2015 Counsel182 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How do you rate a book when it seems so "terribly"--in some NOT all--respects "hit close to home"? Davies truly was an amazing--I hope anyways as I never met him--man and writer. Of course, this is the second book of the Deptford trilogy. In some respects I wish I would have read Fifth Business, Manticore, and World of Wonders (I.e., the trilogy) in rapid succession but for my own sake--as well as far more importantly--for the sake of those around me find that might not be too good of an idea as ...more
Mar 01, 2015 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was mentioned as a good way to understand the undergoing of Jungian analysis. I had not heard of the Canadian writer, Robertson Davies, nor the Deptford Trilogy, of which this is a part. According to the Introduction, Davies has the process of Jungian analysis down pretty well, though he never underwent analysis himself. However, he was very well read in terms of Carl Jung.

I honestly did not find much of this book to be intensely interesting or compelling until the last part where the
Joel Fishbane
It's probably blasphemy to be Canadian and attack anything written by Robertson Davies, but I'm going to do it anyway. (I've done it before; back in university, I argued that Tempest-Tost was a great failure of literature). The Manitcore is not a lousy book but it is massively underwhelming, especially given that it won the Governor's General Award back in 1972. Rumor has it this was an apologetic award, as in the Governor General was apologizing for not giving Davies the award for the far super ...more
Terri Kempton
Jul 25, 2012 Terri Kempton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part two of a trilogy, this book wouldn't make much sense on its own. But it was a fascinating story because a majority of it is the detailed Jungian analysis of one character. We follow this man through a year of therapy as he uncovers his motivations, internal archetypes, and reassesses his childhood and family relations. Although nominal on plot development, I found it to be a strangely satisfying journey and a nice compliment/contrast to the first book of the series.
Oct 09, 2012 Ammar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A manticore is a monster, face of a man, head of a lion and a scorpian tail. In the second part of the Deptford trilogy focuses on David Staunton the son of Boy Staunton the Canadian millionaire. David is in Zurich to consult a Jungian analyst about life, death, power, symbols. A tale that is written by a stylist that goes into the murky area of the soul: us, our purpose, the myths we carry, the burden of our ancestors and past.

Truly a masterpiece.
Lee Razer
Sep 20, 2015 Lee Razer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the second volume of the Deptford trilogy we see the Staunton family through the eyes of David, the son and hard drinking criminal lawyer. But most remarkably we see Jungian analysis at work, as the greater part of the novel is concerned with David's analysis. He has moved to Zurich to pursue this course, following his alarming outburst at Eisengrim's show in Toronto that closed Fifth Business. He fears he is losing control of himself and seeks treatment, which exposes him to the expression o ...more
Ariel Kay
its not really about a manticore... more on murder and psychology so far...

"Never buy anything unless you really need it; things you want are usually junk."

"Be sure you choose what you believe and know why you believe it , because if you don't choose your beliefs, you may be certain that some belief, and probably not a very credible one, will choose you."
Rob Adey
I didn't love this as much as I did the first part of the trilogy. The focus was on a less interesting and less convincing character. But it was still pretty engrossing, and I'm looking forward to the final book...

The manticore turns out to be a Jungian metaphor. We don't even find out how many hit dice it has.
Jun 26, 2014 p-ok-ahontas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"А теперь я хочу, чтобы ты кое-что запомнил, потому что, думаю, встретимся мы теперь не скоро. Вот что я хочу сказать. Каким бы модным ни было сегодня разочарование в мироустройстве и людях, каким бы сильным ни стало это разочарование в будущем, далеко не все и даже не большинство думают и живут, согласуясь с модой. Изгнать из этого мира добродетель и честь невозможно, что бы ни говорили записные моралисты и паникеры газетчики. Самопожертвование не исчезнет из-за того, что психиатры находят в не ...more
Vanessa Ward
Ok, so this one was not as enjoyable as Fifth Business. Perhaps it was all of the Jungian psychology stuff - I'm not really sure. My favorite part of the book was the end, which I attribute to the reappearance of characters (and dialogue) from the first book - also the end of the therapy sessions. Mostly, I think I just didn't have much interest in David Staunton as a character, although it was nice to get his perspective on certain events. Overall, I don't even know that this book will really e ...more
Jan 11, 2016 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Second in the Deptford trilogy but not as good as Fifth Business, in my opinion. It follows the events at the end of Fifth Business as the son of Dunstan's boyhood friend Staunton undergoes Jungian psychoanalysis and tries to understand himself better, and through his memories, his parts also.

Still well told but as neither the narrator nor his father are particularly likeable characters and as almost the entire story is told as therapy sessions with the Jungian psychiatrist, it just failed to c
Michael Bedford
Sep 15, 2015 Michael Bedford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the 2nd novel in Davies's Deptford trilogy, bracketed by Fifth Business initially and World of Wonders ultimately. This novel centres around David Staunton, Percy 'Boy' Staunton's now adult son who readers should remember from the pages of Fifth Business. The novel uses Jungian analysis as a framing device for David to describe the various formative moments in his life to Dr. Von Haller in her Zurich clinic.

Von Haller, a female Jungian analyst, is used as a literary device to get David
Kathy Mcconkey
Jan 25, 2015 Kathy Mcconkey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Found this book fascinating even though I am not a psychologist. It was really one long psychoanalysis session. Learned alot about Jungian archetypes.
AJ McGuire
Feb 01, 2016 AJ McGuire rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
This was not at all like the "Fifth Business". Wikipedia classifies "The Fifth Business" as "speculative fiction" but doesn't bother classifying the second novel in Deptford trilogy at all. And that's right, there is nothing speculative in this jonzer. The first 200 pages is just this guy sitting in a a Jungian analyst's office really getting into it. Then the last 80 pages he runs into the characters from the first book in a Swiss castle and celebrates an introspective Christmas. Is this the fi ...more
Mar 17, 2014 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story continues Davies' Deptford trilogy, mostly moving to a younger generation and exploring the relationships and events of Fifth Business through the perspective of Boy Staunton's quasi-alcoholic lawyer son. These books are pretty amazing -- beautifully written, mythic, fantastical, human. Apparently Davies was deeply invested in Jungian psychology and it shows here, but not in an annoying way. I think I said this about the first book as well, but really rewarding.
No soy gran conocedor de la obra de Jung. A pesar de ello considero el psicoanálisis (tanto freudiano como jungiano) una forma de charlatanería científicamente superada.
En esta obra, en mi opinión, el psicoanálisis de David Staunton (hijo del Boy Staunton de 'El quinto en discordia') no es un mero recurso narrativo para hilvanar sus recuerdos: el autor cree en sus postulados y va reajustando la vida del protagonista en función de estos. Aunque el estilo literario de la novela me parece bueno, e
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William Robertson Davies, CC, FRSC, FRSL (died in Orangeville, Ontario) was a Canadian novelist, playwright, critic, journalist, and professor. He was one of Canada's best-known and most popular authors, and one of its most distinguished "men of letters", a term Davies is sometimes said to have detested. Davies was the founding Master of Massey College, a graduate college at the University of Toro ...more
More about Robertson Davies...

Other Books in the Series

The Deptford Trilogy (4 books)
  • Fifth Business
  • World of Wonders
  • The Deptford Trilogy: Fifth Business/The Manticore/World of Wonders

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“But one must remember that they were all men with systems. Freud, monumentally hipped on sex (for which he personally had little use) and almost ignorant of Nature: Adler, reducing almost everything to the will to power: and Jung, certainly the most humane and gentlest of them, and possibly the greatest, but nevertheless the descendant of parsons and professors, and himself a super-parson and a super-professor. all men of extraordinary character, and they devised systems that are forever stamped with that character.… Davey, did you ever think that these three men who were so splendid at understanding others had first to understand themselves? It was from their self-knowledge they spoke. They did not go trustingly to some doctor and follow his lead because they were too lazy or too scared to make the inward journey alone. They dared heroically. And it should never be forgotten that they made the inward journey while they were working like galley-slaves at their daily tasks, considering other people's troubles, raising families, living full lives. They were heroes, in a sense that no space-explorer can be a hero, because they went into the unknown absolutely alone. Was their heroism simply meant to raise a whole new crop of invalids? Why don't you go home and shoulder your yoke, and be a hero too?” 37 likes
“All real fantasy is serious. Only faked fantasy is not serious. That is why it is so wrong to impose faked fantasy on children....” 10 likes
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