Qty:1
  • List Price: $28.00
  • Save: $6.83 (24%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Eligible for Amazon's FREE Super Saver/Prime Shipping, 24/7 Customer Service, and package tracking. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.
Add to Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

What's Bred in the Bone (Cornish Trilogy) Paperback – November 4, 1986


See all 25 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$21.17
$13.95 $0.01

Frequently Bought Together

What's Bred in the Bone (Cornish Trilogy) + The Lyre of Orpheus (Cornish Trilogy) + The Rebel Angels (Cornish Trilogy)
Price for all three: $60.16

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Hero Quick Promo
Browse in Books with Buzz and explore more details on selected titles, including the current pick, "The Good Girl" by Mary Kubica.

Product Details

  • Series: Cornish Trilogy
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (November 4, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140097112
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140097115
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #255,241 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Known to discerning readers for his beguiling Deptford Trilogy and the more recent Rebel Angels, Canadian author Davies has written another irresistible novel. His story of the secret life of Francis Cornish, full of ironic twists and surprises, has the added enticement of a look inside the rarefied world of art experts and restorers. There is even a hint of the thriller genre, since Cornish joins British Intelligence to participate in an international scheme to defraud the Nazis of Old Masters. But this is primarily a character study, built around the theme: "what's bred in the bone comes out in the flesh," with the corollary that suffering endured when one is young builds character for later achievements. Born into an eccentric, wealthy Canadian family in a backwoods town, enduring a lonely and suffocatingly pious upbringing, Cornish eventually becomes a respected art appraiser and collector, at the sacrifice of his considerable talent as a painter. In addition to the tantalizing story of how this comes about, related with elements of intrigue and mystery, Davies delivers a wickedly funny, trenchant dissection of provincial society and some witty observations about religion and art. The book is seamlessly constructed, interpolating some marvelous set pieces of comic intensity, and the reader hurtles through the taut, compelling narrative wishing it would never end. 25,000 first printing; BOMC alternate. Foreign rights: Curtis Brown. November
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In this extraordinary fictional biography, the highly gifted Davies (The Cunning Man, Audio Reviews, LJ 11/15/95) makes use of guardian angels to tell his remarkable tale. Francis Cornish endures a secretive childhood in a remote town, fascinating encounters with its embalmer, and time in prewar Oxford where he studied art and philosophy. He eventually discovers his superior artistic talents and the problem of finding his own unique style. Author Davies has produced a gripping story of artistic triumph and heroic deceit, told with deep insight into the worlds of art and international espionage. This work is tailor-made for the eloquence of narrator Frederick Davidson. A fine addition to any library.?James Dudley, Copiague, N.Y.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

This is the first book by Davies I ever read, and it remains my favourite.
J. W. Reitsma
Basically, Davies' writes about the character Francis Cornish in a way that draws you in at every level.
Amazon Customer
I didn't realize this was the middle book of the Cornish trilogy and read it first.
JulieS

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By J. W. Reitsma on June 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is the first book by Davies I ever read, and it remains my favourite. As I found out later, it is the centrepiece of what came to be known as the Cornish trilogy. It is the story of Francis Cornish, a talented artist from provincial Canada who is recruited into the British secret service and participates in a major art forging operation intended to thwart the nazis. In the course of the process he finds and loses the love of his life, paints a medieval tryptich depicting the Marriage at Canaan that is also a representation of the major figures in his life (all of them very colourful), unmasks another forger after the war and ultimately has to give up his career as a "medieval painter" when his masterpiece is purchased by a Canadian museum on the assumption that it is genuine. Cornish's life is narrated by his daimon, a sort of "biographical angel", and has many more twists and turns than I can possibly describe here. The book is full of Davies' urbane wit and Jungian wisdom. It tails off a bit towards the end, but that is compensated in the "sequel" about his nephew Arthur and his patronage of the arts, "The Lyre of Orpheus". Highly recommended, but I suggest you start with the first part of this trilogy, "The Rebel Angels". Newcomers, beware: Davies' fiction is highly addictive.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By JulieS on June 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
I didn't realize this was the middle book of the Cornish trilogy and read it first. I haven't read the other two yet, but I have to say that this book is excellent and one of the most entertaining books I have read this year. This book chronicles the odd adventures of Francis Cornish in a sweeping story which moves from Canada to Europe. Francis Cornish is just enough unlucky that you sympathize with his trials and tribulations, but his fantastic artistic skills and his many riches make him someone the reader might envy and not understand. Davies is an expert at telling this sort of life story, and I think this one is even more enjoyable than Fifth Business. He has a sense of what it is like to have characters at the hands of fate; in this novel, the daimons quite literally command and shape Francis's destiny. Reading this book definitely wanted to make me read the rest of the trilogy.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 1, 1997
Format: Paperback
What's bred in the bone will out in the flesh, the saying goes. Sheer genius must have composed the vast mass of Robertson Davies' bones. This wonderfully witty novel is typical of Davies' brilliant, erudite & gripping style. It left me aghast with wonder that one man can know so much, cover it so well and tie his references together and all the while remain hugely entertaining. This is the middle part of the Cornish Trilogy and as stunning as the other two. Two angels discuss the life of a deceased art collector and philanthropist and flashbacks show how the young man came to be widely respected from a life as an art forger. If you haven't already read "The Rebel Angels" do it, If you have, you have no need to read further, you will want to buy this book anyway. This is one of the best books I have ever read and Robertson Davies is one of the greats.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By desefinado on October 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
Davies always anchors his world in the primal instincts, the truths of human nature. You are never quite prepared for the surprising complexity of his characters or the fate that awaits them. The realistic evolution of Francis from troubled boyhood to artistic savant is really a modern version of David Copperfield, except the female characters are more fully dimensioned than Dickens could ever manage. And there is nothing of Dicken's stuffiness here. This is great literature with a Monty Python flair. No matter how you slice it a convincing argument can be made that during the last ten years of his life Davies was the greatest living novelist writing in English.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
I first read this book about 20 years ago. I still remember it vividly. Francis Cheggin Cornish seems less like a fictional character to me than a real person a favorite uncle told me stories about. Actually, that's as apt a description of Davies as a novelist/persona I can think of.

At the simplest level, this book is about the life of an artist -- but that gross simplification doesn't even scratch the surface of Davies' rich exercise in fictionalized biography. To me, this book is nothing less than a contemplation of how life experience makes a person what they are. A simple enough idea, but one that opens up to infinite complexities. It is rare to encounter a life (real or imagined) unspooled with such fascinating lucidity and a deft insight.

What's that mean? Basically, Davies' writes about the character Francis Cornish in a way that draws you in at every level. By the end, you will feel as if you KNOW him. Again, it sounds like a simple literary idea -- fictionalized biography -- but you feel free to hunt around for other examples as good as this. You won't be finding many, I'd be so bold to wager.

This is the "middle" book of Davies' Cornish Trilogy (my favorite of his trilogy of trilogies, though you can't go wrong with any of 'em) though, chronologically, the first in the story. I read it that way, way back when, and I actually recommend that. Maybe I'm off-base here but I think the first book (The Rebel Angels) works better when you know this one, regardless of the order Davies wrote the works in. I dunno. You decide.

Anyway, a heck of a book. A heck of writer. Can't recommend it enough.

-- mm
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?