Friday, September 30, 2011

A Small Canadian Village

The Salterton Trilogy

The Salterton Trilogy 

"Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular. But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness." - Robertson Davies

Salterton is a small Canadian village that receives attention in this fine trilogy from Robertson Davies; at least some of the people in the village receive his attention and for readers that is a good thing. While I did not enjoy this quite as much as some of his later novels, there was sufficient humor and wit to keep me entertained. In the final novel of the trilogy, Leaven of Malice, the central character Monica Gall is also the most likable character and as such kept me interested in the book when I tired of some of the other characters for whom the titular "malice" was more their style. The plot borders on the melodramatic, but perhaps the thespian in Davies is to blame for that. The central role that music plays in this novel is another signature of the Robertson Davies' style (see The Lyre of Orpheus for another example). The combination of interesting, if not likable, characters and the wit of the master storyteller made this a good read. For greatness visit The Cornish Trilogy.

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