CanLit Challenge Book #26: World of Wonders by Robertson Davies
Filed under: CanLit Challenge — Ibis at 9:56 am on Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Book 26, World of Wonders (1975) – Robertson Davies
From the publisher:
“Hailed by the Washington Post Book World as “a modern classic,” Robertson Davies’s acclaimed Deptford Trilogy is a glittering, fantastical, cunningly contrived series of novels, around which a mysterious death is woven. World of Wonders—the third book in the series after The Manticore—follows the story of Magnus Eisengrim—the most illustrious magician of his age—who is spirited away from his home by a member of a traveling sideshow, the Wanless World of Wonders. After honing his skills and becoming better known, Magnus unfurls his life’s courageous and adventurous tale in this third and final volume of a spectacular, soaring work.”

Other useful links:
the Wikipedia article on World of Wonders
the Wikipedia article on the Deptford Trilogy
the Wikipedia article on Robertson Davies
the Wikipedia article on Robert-Houdin

My thoughts:
Again, I started this book with some misgivings. I’m one of those people who hate clowns and carnival sideshows and I was afraid that this book would be too much in a setting I couldn’t stand. Sigh. I ought to have known better by now & trusted Mr Davies not to disappoint. I loved this book too, and yes, I read it all in one sitting some months ago, and am only now getting around to blogging about it.

We’re presented with another framed story, first the old comfortable shoes of Dunstan Ramsay, then the autobiography of Magnus Eisengrim né Paul Dempster. We finally find out what happened to the third boy affected by that fateful stone in the snowball. Davies is such a great storyteller, you’re drawn in right away and he takes you on a trip through all the elements that made Dempster into Eisengrim but he doesn’t stop there. Like Nicholas Nickleby, World of Wonders is populated with a great cast of actors, and of course Liesl. Oh yeah, and what was it the Brazen Head said about the death of Boy Staunton? We find that out too…

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