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The Salterton Trilogy: Tempest-Tost Leaven of Malice a Mixture of Frailties Paperback – November 1, 1991

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The Salterton Trilogy: Tempest-Tost Leaven of Malice a Mixture of Frailties + The Cornish Trilogy + The Deptford Trilogy
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 808 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books, Inc. (November 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014015910X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140159103
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #303,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robertson Davies (1913-1995) had three successive careers during the time he became an internationally acclaimed author: actor, publisher, and, finally, professor at the University of Toronto. The author of twelve novels and several volumes of essays and plays, he was the first Canadian to be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 21 customer reviews
Davies stuff is the antithesis of pulp fiction.
And without a doubt, Humphrey Cobbler is Davies' best character -- a vivid, devil-may-care artistic genius who winks and nudges in every book.
E. A Solinas
I read these books over 10 years ago and I still remember them clearly and with fondness.
S. Brunsvold

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Alex Ruelas on September 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
It is not often that I get to give my opinion on a book, let alone to write one. I, however, felt a great need for writing this and sharing it with whomever wants to read it.
I came across Davies's writings by mere accident. Sometime in the early 1990's I was on a train going from London to Edinburgh. I was to attend there an astronomical meeting at which I was going to present some of my original research and, since I am not a native English speaker I was worrying about the way my presentation would go. Suddenly I noticed that the passenger sitting in front of me was reading a book, which by its title; Murther and Walking Spirits, attracted my attention. Firstly, because I thought there was a mispelling, later I decided that either murther meant something different from murder, or it was an ancient way of spelling the word. At my arrival in Edinburgh I consulted a dictionary and was very pleased to realise that murther meant indeed murder and that my second guess had been correct.I went immediately to the first book shop I could find and acquired the book, which I read voraciously, finding it one of the best books I had read in my life. This little book had whetted my apetite and I was determined to read more by this Davies fellow whom I had never before encountered, in spite of being quite a fan of reading books in English
I read High Spirits, then Fifth Business. Having found these books extraordinary, I bought The Deptford Trilogy, The Cornish Trilogy, The Salterton Trilogy and read them all finding every time magnificent stories, written with a pleasant and most delicate style. Something which was very worthwhile, not only because of what it said, but because of the way it was said.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
Robertson Davies' "Salterton Trilogy" is a well-written, often funny and sometimes poignant look at the realistically odd occupants of Salterton, the deceptively quaint Canadian city with two cathedrals and one university.
"Tempest-Tost" opens with the organization of an amateur production of Shakespeare's "The Tempest." A motley crew of actors join it, including an exuberent professor, his quiet daughter, a quiet mama's boy, a beautiful rich girl, a womanizing soldier, and an infatuated schoolteacher. Love, ambition, jealousy and infatuation rapidly tangle together, climaxing in an unusually dramatic opening night.
"Leaven of Malice" is half satire and half mystery. The Salterton Bellman announces that Solly Bridgetower and Pearl Vambrace are engaged -- the only problem is that it isn't true. Professor Vambrace sees it as a personal affront, and sues the paper. Pearl and Solly are haunted by false rumors, reports, and claims about who faked the announcement. All they can do is try to find out themselves.
"Mixture of Frailties" opens with the death of Solly's domineering mother. Her will leaves money to Solly's family only if he produces a male heir with his wife Veronica (previously known as Pearl); until then, her money is to be used in a trust for a young female artistic hopeful, who will go to Europe for a few years to study whatever she is good at. And finding the right girl is only the start of Solly's problems.
The tone of the Salterton Trilogy is lighter and less introspective than Davies' other books. Sometimes it's outright hilarious (there's a girl called The Torso, for crying out loud!). The first book is perhaps the funniest and most real-seeming, but it's also rather unfocused because there is no plot.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Sean A. Krauss on April 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
In the Deptford Trilogy, Davies weaves stories through concept: the characters are vivid, but they also exist to reveal facets of Davies' Jungian philosophy. The Salterton Trilogy, on the other hand, takes a healthy dose of humorous, memorable (and often stereotypical) characters, tosses them in the pot with a dash of conflict, and lets them simmer.
The first two books--Tempest Tost and Leaven of Malice--carry this formula forward with great success and humor. Tempest Tost brings amateur players with varying degrees of ineptitude together for a community performance of The Tempest. The characters introduced here continue on in Leaven of Malice to quarrel over a practical joke: a faulty marriage announcement in a local newspaper.
The third book (A Mixture of Frailties) departs from this formula, leaving the small town for the London classical music scene, and though preexisting characters play a minor role, the focus rests on a single new character. The book reads as a rite-of-passage tale for its protagonist, Monica Gall, who develops into something of a renaissance woman under the tutelage of her three magi (a conceit which I could have done without, but about which little is made).
The first two books are light reads, and quite fun. The second especially is wonderfully comic, and I'd recommend it as a starting place for anyone wanting a gentle introduction to Davies. The third book is far more reflective, reminding me at times of "The Fifth Business", and echoing the binding conflict of The Deptford Trilogy in a scene near the end.
As with all Davies' writing I have experienced so far, the breadth of his knowledge in the subjects he chooses to write about is humbling. Music, newswriting, play production: if it's an art, Davies seems to know what there is to know.
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