Phyl's Reviews > The Lyre of Orpheus

The Lyre of Orpheus by Robertson Davies
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Sep 01, 07

bookshelves: have-read
Read in August, 2007

I paused for a couple of months, about 2/3 of the way through this book, because I simply wasn't enjoying it. I had never liked the character of Maria, in the first book of the trilogy (The Rebel Angels), nor found her romance with Arthur very plausible. So I couldn't empathize or really care about the implausible and bizarre predicament they got into in this book.

And Shnack -- a thoroughly unlikeable character, as well as her mentor who was equally unlikeable. It seemed that this book was chock-full of unlikeable characters!

So I stopped for a while. But once I got back into it, a few weeks ago, I enjoyed it a lot more. I was espcially happy to discover the theme that Robertson Davies espoused quite a lot in his later years: the idea that you must discover your personal myth, the one that fits you and your inner character most truly, and follow it in the way you live your life. Hearing Davies interviewed about this idea a few years ago was what prompted me to develop my own personal myth (the "Island") and begin to explore what it meant in my life. So I felt like I was becoming reacquainted with an old friend.

Still, I have to say that the middle book, "What's Bred in the Bone," was the best of the three in this trilogy. I think what finally made me enjoy the last third of "The Lyre of Orpheus" was in fact Darcourt's gradual unravelling of the mysteries Francis Cornish had left behind him after book two.

This book was the first Davies book I ever read, and I'm glad I was intrigued enough that I went on to many of his other books. But having read so many now, I have to say that this is not high on the list of my favourite Davies books.
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