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A daily record of what I'm thinking about what I'm reading

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Whom does Boy Staunton remind you of?

If you've read the first volume of Robertson Davies's Deptford trilogy (if not, spoilers may follow) you are pretty much sure of the answer to the central question: Who killed Boy Staunton? It has to be Mrs. Dempster's son, now become a world-famous magician and illusionist. The second volume, The Manticore (halfway through still no idea what the title means), is entirely centered on Stanton's son, David; the entire volume (at least the first half) is his account to an analyst about his life story - including childhood traumas, struggles, and incidents of guilt and shame. He wants to learn to killed his father and wants to rectify his strained relationship w/ his father, who always seemed to view David as a failure. He also wants to alleviate his suffering - he lives alone, has had it seems no significant love relationships w/ anyone of either gender, and has a serious, unacknowledged drinking problem. What's missing - intentionally - from this inquiry is any mention of the magician-illusionist whom we believe did in fact kill Boy Staunton (and leave a mysterious stone in his mouth). So for all David's search into his life story, he seems to have no information about or knowledge of the likely killer of his father. BTW, this trilogy seems of particular interest today esp in re the personality of the central figure, Boy Staunton: a blustering, narcissistic businessman, drawn to beautiful women, a philanderer, a war profiteer, who rises to position of power in the government - until his final un-doing. Remind you of anyone? (There are differences, of course - Staunton is largely a self-made man, and he doesn't have the dangerous characteristics of a demagogue.)

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