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World of Wonders [Paperback]

William Robertson Davies
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 26 May 1977 --  
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Book Description

26 May 1977 0140043896 978-0140043891 First THUS
This is the third novel in Davies's major work, The Deptford Trilogy. This novel tells the life story of the unfortunate boy introduced in The Fifth Business, who was spirited away from his Canadian home by one of the members of a traveling side show, the Wanless World of Wonders.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Paperback: 315 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Australia; First THUS edition (26 May 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140043896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140043891
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.9 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,546,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Robertson Davies (1913-1995) was an actor, a University Professor and a writer. He is the author of The Salterton Trilogy, The Deptford Trilogy and The Cornish Trilogy.

M.G. Vassanji was born in Kenia and raised in Tanzania. His first novel, The Gunny Sack, won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize in 1990. His other books include Uhuru Street, No New Land, Amriika, and The In-Between World of Vikram Lall. He lives in Toronto.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magician's Biography Unravels a Mystery 4 Jun 1997
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Davies uses the 'accidental' revelation of a great magician's life--by the magician himself--to complete the Deptford Trilogy and answer the mystery: "Who killed...?"
Davies is at his storytelling best here, spinning out a strange, fascinating life story that begins when a young boy is captivated by a carnival magic show.
By far the best book of the trilogy, this novel stands brilliantly on its own and is head and shoulders above the two recent novels that use almost the same plot: Mr. Vertigo, by Paul Auster,
and Millroy the Magician, by Paul Theroux.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest novel of the twentieth century 26 Dec 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is the best novel of the century's best English language novelist. The plot is sure-fire (kid runs away with the carnival), the characters memorable (sideshow freaks, revealed to be--human beings! theater people, great and small, revealed to be--human beings!), the sins enormous (pederasty, pride, perhaps even murder), the virtues marvelous (love, devotion to love). The theme of this book, as with the other books in the trilogy, is search for self--the main character of this book lives four different lives during his life. This book works on every level; it reads well as a story, gives you something to think about, and stands up to any number of readings you'd care to give it. (I've given it at least five.)
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Davies' Deptford Trilogy - A must-read 14 July 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The only bad thing about Robertson Davies' Deptford Trilogy (FIFTH BUSINESS, THE MANTICORE, WORLD OF WONDERS) is that it had to end! Sparklingly clever, bawdy, poignant, erudite, and laugh-out-loud funny, Davies entertains in a wonderfully rich, old-world style.
A friend of mine (who recommended the books, and to whom I will be forever grateful) put it this way: "Reading Robertson Davies is like sitting in a plush, wood-paneled library--in a large leather chair with a glass of excellent brandy and a crackling fire--and being captivated with a fabulous tale spun by a wonderful raconteur."
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Theft or postmodernism? 5 Dec 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the only readable book by Great Canadian Writer Robertson Davies, possibly because the first (and best) section is lifted from Memoirs of a Sword Swallower (read it). A small boy is kidnapped by a travelling carnival in the American poverty and hick belt. He tells how far from glamorous this life is and shows us the grime beneath the sequins: the jolly Fat Lady is really sad and grey-haired; the snakes in the snake-charming act are constantly replaced as they die from too much man-handling. When the central character grows up, he joins a straight theatrical troupe and then becomes a career magician, but the book becomes infested with a lot of Jungian codswallop. If you like this, read the Memoirs of a Sword Swallower and J B Priestly's Lost Empires.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magician's Biography Unravels a Mystery 4 Jun 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Davies uses the 'accidental' revelation of a great magician's life--by the magician himself--to complete the Deptford Trilogy and answer the mystery: "Who killed...?"
Davies is at his storytelling best here, spinning out a strange, fascinating life story that begins when a young boy is captivated by a carnival magic show.
By far the best book of the trilogy, this novel stands brilliantly on its own and is head and shoulders above the two recent novels that use almost the same plot: Mr. Vertigo, by Paul Auster,
and Millroy the Magician, by Paul Theroux
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Davies' Deptford Trilogy - A must-read 14 July 1999
By jonathan@mss.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The only bad thing about Robertson Davies' Deptford Trilogy (FIFTH BUSINESS, THE MANTICORE, WORLD OF WONDERS) is that it had to end! Sparklingly clever, bawdy, poignant, erudite, and laugh-out-loud funny, Davies entertains in a wonderfully rich, old-world style.
A friend of mine (who recommended the books, and to whom I will be forever grateful) put it this way: "Reading Robertson Davies is like sitting in a plush, wood-paneled library--in a large leather chair with a glass of excellent brandy and a crackling fire--and being captivated with a fabulous tale spun by a wonderful raconteur."
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest novel of the twentieth century 26 Dec 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is the best novel of the century's best English language novelist. The plot is sure-fire (kid runs away with the carnival), the characters memorable (sideshow freaks, revealed to be--human beings! theater people, great and small, revealed to be--human beings!), the sins enormous (pederasty, pride, perhaps even murder), the virtues marvelous (love, devotion to love). The theme of this book, as with the other books in the trilogy, is search for self--the main character of this book lives four different lives during his life. This book works on every level; it reads well as a story, gives you something to think about, and stands up to any number of readings you'd care to give it. (I've given it at least five.)
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a satisfying end to the trilogy 19 April 2001
By M. H. Bayliss - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've just finished a Davies marathon: the whole Deptford trilogy in 3 days. I think it a testament to Davies' great storytelling ability that I could not put down any of the three books. I suggest reading them in close succession because the second book (The Manticore) sheds a lot of light on the other two books. It's interesting that in this book (the 2nd), we get 250 pages or so written from the point of view of a minor character: Boy Staunton's son. If you stop to think about it, the whole trilogy is structured around the question "Who killed Boy Staunton," so it shouldn't be surprising to read an account by his drunken son, the famous lawyer of his counseling sessions in Zurich. Rarely does one find such well-drawn characters these days in novels -- by the end, you'll feel like you've known Paul Demster for years, along with the simian Liesl, level-headed Ramsey and of course Demster's character, Eisengrim.
This book is a bit "deeper" than the first two as we find ourselves transported to an almost magic-realism portrait of myth and fantastical events in the World of Wonders. I actually enjoyed the first two books more although I still think this last book is a master work. Occassionaly Eisengrim's recounting of his life gets a bit tedious, but only because we are dying to resolve the mystery which finally gets solved in the closing pages. All in all, a memorable trilogy and a gripping read by one of the great 20th century writers.
4.0 out of 5 stars A good Tale. 9 July 2014
By Herb - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the third of a trilogy and Davies is a great story teller. There are parts of this book and the others that are a bit of a slog but Davies seems always to save the good parts for the last couple of pages.
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