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Davy (Penguin science fiction) Mass Market Paperback – 1 May 1969

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, 1 May 1969
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (May 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140026002
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140026009
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,682,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
For some reason, it seems that quiet science fiction books like this one don't receive the attention they deserve. In this case, it seems almost criminal that this book is barely remembered and has often been out of print, as it is one of the best of the post-apocalyptic books ever written, ranking right up there with Walter M. Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz.
Davy, at the beginning of the book, is a randy teenager just coming into his manhood. Bonded out as an indentured servant to a tavern from the orphanage where he spent his early years, he chafes under the yoke of his status and dreams of better things - including bedding the tavern's daughter. In many ways, he's a typical teenager, worried about the mysteries of the opposite sex, status and racism, what the purpose of life is, and feeling that the adults around him are stupid and out of touch with the world. The world he occupies is one that is (very) slowly recovering from the holocaust that has destroyed our civilization, where what is our New England area is now split up into several nation-states, frequently at war with each other, and where the Holy Murcan church is, in many ways, the actual ruler of the territory. When Davy runs away from his bond-servantship, he starts on a journey of discovery, mainly about himself, but also about the ways of humans and the world at large. During his journey, he finds himself involved in the dirty nastiness of war, finds a lady (Nickie) he can totally immerse himself in, and is dragooned into becoming (briefly) a member of a new intellectual renaissance and a political leader.
Davy is exquisitely drawn.
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Format: Hardcover
Several hundred years after nuclear war, Davy begins to write the story of his life.
After accidentally killing one of the guards in the village compound in which he grew up, Davy flees, narrowly avoiding getting involved in a territorial war, and joins up with various travellers - including a mutant, a man who claims to be his father, a travelling carnivale and finally some seafaring wanderers with whom he finally settles on an island in the Azores.
Initially illiterate, Davy is taught to read and write by an old lady in the travelling circus, and thus defies the controlling Church's prohibition on reading texts from before the Apocalypse.
In some ways this is a nostalgic look at an America in pioneering times, since society has regressed to that level, and confines itself to an area between Philadelphia and the Catskill mountains. The leader of the group that Davy joins makes some of his living by selling a universal Panacea, 'Mother Spinkton's Home Remedy', which is claimed to cure more or less everything.
The Church is portrayed as a restrictive and anachronistic force and there are signs that its power and influence are in decline.
Although not as powerful and original as 'A Mirror For Observers' this is a thoughtful and idiosyncratic work, very redolent of Simak in its yearning for a pastoral America, but at the same time critical of religious political control.
Overall it is a compelling portrait of a teenager's passage into adulthood and his changing attitude as he learns and experiences conceptual breakthroughs.
It is to be noted that the human mutations in this work are simply that. Refreshingly the 'Mues' that are encountered show no signs of fantastic powers but are merely severely brain-damaged and/or physically deformed.
It is perhaps too romantic a vision of a post-nuclear world, but then, the novel is not about that. It is about characters and their lives, all of which are beautifully portrayed.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The story of Davy is told in the form of a man's memoirs of his adventures in New England around 375 years after The Confusion (which I understood to me a limited nuclear war but I'm not sure it was ever spelled out). Some of the story is the old Davy writing the book, but most of it is essentially a flashback to the action when he was a youth and young man. The region has reverted to a sort of medieval society with the church ruling over a series of warring states. There are aspects of the pre-disaster world that are remembered, but the story might as well have been set in 1200 AD for most purposes.

The story itself is fine, but I seem to be in the minority of people who didn't really enjoy it that much. I got to the end and wondered what the point of it all was. It was all just a bit slow for me, although the characters are interesting and there are some interesting incidents along the way.
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By A Customer on 4 Dec. 2000
Format: Hardcover
Funny, sad, entertaining and thought provoking.
The adventures and development of a young man in a well drawn, technologically backward, post holocaust world ruled by a Theocracy.
The eponymous Davy is a sypathetic and 3 dimensional character. A believable, imperfect human being, who you can't help but like.
The "supporting" cast are also fully realised. Their world is fascinating and stays with you long after you have finished the book.
Not just for your science fiction fan - a book I would recommend for anyone.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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