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Tempest-Tost (The Salterton Trilogy #1)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  1,396 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
amateur production of The Tempest provides a colourful backdrop for an hilarious look at unrequited love. Mathematics teacher Hector Mackilwraith, stirred and troubled by Shakespeare's play, falls in love with the beautiful Griselda Webster. When Griselda shows that she has plans of her own, Hector despairs and tries to commit suicide on the play's opening night.
Paperback, 248 pages
Published January 1st 1980 by Penguin Canada (first published 1951)
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Oct 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I don't know much about Robertson Davies, but I imagine he must have been a delightful human being. Anyone able to convey so much wit, heart and humanity must surely be a helluva guy. Tempest-Tost, published in 1951, feels fresh and timeless. Set in a small town in Ontario, it follows the lives of a group of amateur thespians during a production of The Tempest. Davies perfectly captures the idiosyncrasies of the characters, effortlessly imparting his wisdom - yes, wisdom! - in the process. Just ...more
Feb 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: míos, mainstream, humor
Leer a Robertson Davies es un acierto seguro. Davies era un inteligente y refinado narrador, dueño de un sutil sentido del humor y una erudición privilegiada, características todas ellas que se hacen evidentes tanto en sus diálogos como en sus descripciones. Esto, unido a un pulso narrativo encomiable, hace que la lectura de sus novelas sea una delicia para el paladar más exigente.

'A merced de la tempestad' fue la primera novela que escribió el canadiense Robertson Davies, en el año 1951, libro
Jun 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, owned, canadian
The first book in the Salterton trilogy. Very amusing satire about an amateur theater group. I found the character of Hector Mackilwraith particularly funny with his approach to teaching:

"It was in dealing with stupid pupils that his wit was shown. A dunce, who had done nothing right, would not receive a mark of Zero from him, for Hector would geld the unhappy wretch of marks not only for arriving at a wrong solution, but for arriving at it by a wrong method. It was thus possible to announce to
M.L. Rio
Like Downton Abbey meets Slings and Arrows. A light and delightful portrait of small-town theatre.
Rafa Sánchez
Divertidísima comedia, entorno al proyecto de una función teatral para aficionados, durante el verano. La obra elegida es La Tempestad, de Shakespeare, lo que da pie a un repaso a la sociedad de un pequeño pueblo canadiense (Salterton). La elección de una directora profesional le da un toque exquisito para contrastar la calidad de la función. En resumen, se puede decir que la lectura es muy divertida, con continiuos golpes de humor sutil, no exento de profundidad psicológica en algunos pasajes.. ...more
Apr 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
I'm a fan of the "Hey Let's Put on a Show" genre, and Davies is a great author to attempt it. His gentle social satire shines as he tells the story of a community theater group in a small Canadian city putting on a production of The Tempest. In this book, Davies reminds me a lot of Jane Austen. He has an ability to create characters who are very realistically irritating, yet he never gets cynical. His warmth toward humanity and his faith that the good people among us will triumph in spite of pet ...more
Feb 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entretenido y bien escrito. Quizá un poco irregular y con algunos momentos innecesariamente largos, como la inacabable velada en la casa de Solly, pero en general es un buen libro con caracteres muy bien construidos y estructura bastante dinámica. Me ha gustado especialmente el desenlace. Una buena opción que ya adelanta las mejores características del autor.
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
Anything by Robertson Davies! This isn't my favourite, but it still knocks most other authors out of the running.

Is it cheating to count each part of the trilogy as a separate book, even though my copy has them all bound in together? I'm going to say Not, because like I said, the print IS very small.
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
I'd forgotten how much I love Robertson Davies! So funny and written with such compassion for his characters; I sometimes describe John Irving as the modern Dickens, but actually it's Davies. Irving is the American Dickens. (It was Irving's admiration for Davies that initially started me on the Deptford Trilogy, though, so they're both influenced by the master of character.)
NOTE: I HATE that the Goodreads description of the book includes a spoiler for the end!
Simon Mcleish
Feb 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in October 2004.

In some ways, the staging of an amateur theatrical event must seem to be an ideal focus for a satirist. The inflated egos, naked ambition displayed over so small an achievement is an obvious tool to dissect the vanities of the world. Its very obviousness is the problem: how do you use this subject without coming across as trite? Here, then, we see that to choose this as the background for his debut novel Robertson Davies was actually showing a
Aaron Arnold
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, read-in-2016
Though this is his first published novel, every aspect of Davies' style that I enjoyed in the Deptford trilogy - the genial, avuncular prose stylist - is fully-formed here. What makes Davies so distinctive is his keen eye for human pettiness. Lots of novelists write extensively on the small flaws that are foundational to the human psyche, but very few do it with the peculiar combination of wit, affection, and indulgence that Davies does. The efforts of a small-town theater troupe to put on a per ...more
Jul 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Davies, Canadian Literature Fans
Recommended to Sarah by: Prof John O'Connor (Canadian Lit teacher)
Robertson Davies truly has a knack for capturing the quintessential small town. I read this novel as part of the required reading in my second year Canadian Lit course at the University of Toronto. I entered into the Salterton Trilogy with skepticism, fearfully remembering the awful reading of Fifth Business back in high school (I loved the novel, hated the teacher)

Tempest Tost is remarkably humorous, and each character is highly neurotic, ignorant, and naive--but that's all part of their charm
Aug 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was the first Robertson Davies novel I read. It was loaned to me by my friend Tom, who highly recommended it to me. He was SO right!!!! Great characters, lyrical prose, wit, true-to-life situations, compassionate world view, and a fabulous sense of humor. Reading this prompted me to immediately go out and read the next two in this trilogy, and three other trilogies by the same author. He is now one of my all time favorite novelists. All his books get 5 stars from me, except maybe for Cunnin ...more
Nov 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Robertson Davies fans
Not so good as the Deptford Trilogy, this first tome of the Salterton Trilogy. Still, Davies is an exceptional writer, and "Tempest-tost" is a witty, funny, interesting read. Probably best for those who have read "The Tempest" by Shakespeare, as it revolves around that particular play.

"Leaven of Malice," the second book in this threesome, is already proving to be a better read, though of course one must get through "Tempest-tost" first, for a bit of background.
Apr 05, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Those interested more in character- than plot-driven stories.
An early work of Davies', nothing really happens in this first book of the Salterton trilogy. However, the characters are terrific and you can't help feeling emotion toward them as you would real people.
Margaret McCamant
Jun 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Having read this in a couple days, I'm about to start the second book in this Salterton trilogy, Leaven of Malice. This was my introduction to Robertson Davies, and I've really enjoyed his sense of humor and his Canadians, whom I'm somehow predisposed to be very fond of.
Jorge Cienfuegos
Jul 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Comedia de enredos muy entretenida y muy bien escrita. Quizá le falte fuerza a las escenas finales, pero es bastante disfrutable dentro de su ligereza.
Jun 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Had to read it in college, reread it a couple years ago and still thought it was hilarious. I think the characters are just so well written.
James Evans
I feel I should have enjoyed this book much more than I did. It’s effortlessly funny and witty and the characters are each one a world themselves, and although nothing really happens in this first book, characterisation makes up for it.
I don’t know if I’m not having a great month, but while reading it I felt quite distracted so I’ll blame myself and not the book. I’ll probably read the second part at some other time, but I feel it wasn’t the right time for me to read and enjoy this as it deserve
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love Robertson Davies. Especially read aloud by my favorite audiobook reader, Frederick Davidson.
Raül De Tena
Mar 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
La primera publicación de “A Merced de la Tempestad” (publicada en nuestro país por Libros del Asteroide) data de 1951, un momento histórico en el que sorprende leer cómo Robertson Davies se aferra a cierta tradición literaria del melodrama social que mucho (muchísimo) tiempo antes ya había sublimado una genealogía de escritores que van -cronológicamente- desde Jean Austen hasta E.M. Foster. El autor, sin embargo, con un pico y una pala tremendamente silenciosos, consigue abrir ciertas brechas e ...more
Mary Anne Thompson
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bingo-2017
A fine book to be read slowly to cherish an intelligent writer.
Mar 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Robertson Davies was over his life time an actor (educated at Queens U. & Oxford, acted at the Old Vic) playwright, a newspaper editor, critic, essayist, the first Master of Massey College (having helped establish a school of journalism at Univ. of Toronto)and emeritus to all of that. At the same time he was writing novels. He is a prime example of "write what you know" but then look at what he knew.
The Salterton Trilogy came out in the fifties with Tempest Tost being the first. Tempest Tost
Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tempest-Tost tells the story of an amateur dramatic group, as they prepare to stage an outdoor production of The Tempest. The setting is the fictional Salterton, Ontario – which we’re told is a city – though it feels more like a town to me.

The Salterton Little Theatre group are a bunch of varied, eccentric characters, Mrs Nellie Forrester is used to running the show – and often gets her way. However, she has invited her old friend Valentine Rich who has had success as a theatre director in New Y
Nov 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read Davies' 'The Rebel Angels' a good while ago (principally, I will admit, because Laura Marling's song 'Sophia' is based on it), and liked it just fine, the same way I liked 'Pride and Prejudice' just fine when I read it at roughly the same age. I think I was too young for both, however, because just as I enjoyed 'Sense and Sensibility' enormously when I read it earlier this year, I have absolutely loved 'Tempest-Tost'. Davies' phrases are as well-turned as an Elizabethan joint, his skeweri ...more
Nov 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
First of the Salterton Trilogy, this stands proudly as an examination of the character defects of a group of Canadian amateur dramatists. All the middle class insecurities are here and there is a great range of convincingly flawed contributors, from the middle-aged maths teacher hopelessly in love, Hector Mackilwraith, the military lothario Roger Tasset, the bouncy good time girl with an equally good heart known as "The Torso" and the girl whom everyone admires, not least because her father is r ...more
Frances Sawaya
Jan 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: in-our-library
This should be a 4.5 but I don't now how to generate partial stars! I was introduced to Davies by a Lit teacher in the middle school where I taught; she started me on the Deptford trilogy which I still, after all these years, regard as an outstanding work! After reading those I did a backtrack and read the Salterton trilogy. This book (reminding me a lot of the humor in David Lodge) had me in stitches. What a clever opening --- a practical joke that becomes the basis for a set of novels with fan ...more
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those great books that combines a pretty good story with great little pearls of philosophical wisdom. Davies constantly makes neat little observations about the nature of people and the world in a way that is both clever and wise.
The plot of the novel is a really interesting one, especially for someone with experience in amateur theatre. The novel follows an amateur out-door production of Shakespeare's The Tempest in Salterton, Canada, and it explores all the petty personal squabb
Jan 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is Davies trying his hand at comedy. I can't tell how well he succeeded for the general public, but I've enjoyed it immensely.
It's full of bits like "Mr Adams [the English teacher] had been an indifferent student of mathematics himself, and had a grudge against Hector [the Math teacher] because he gave too much homework to his pupils who might otherwise have been writing essays for Mr Adams", which tickle my fancy way too much.

It does quit being a comedy about a third of the way though, but
Jun 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
I love Roberston Davies' works. Nothing particularly breathtaking happens in this book, but it's so beautifully and humourously written that it draws you in and draws you along like nothing else. Each character walks onto the page in 3D, and moves with purpose throughout the plot. This was a book that I looked forward to returning to each time I put it down. Sometimes I would re-read passages just to savor the subtle character development and wit.
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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 Salterton Trilogy (3 books)
  • Leaven of Malice (Salterton Trilogy, #2)
  • A Mixture of Frailties (Salterton Trilogy, #3)
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