Robertson Davies

What’s Bred in the Bone

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Second in the Cornish Trilogy following The Rebel Angels. “An altogether remarkable creation, [Davies’] most accomplished novel to date.”—The New York Times
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize
Francis Cornish was always good at keeping secrets. From the well-hidden family secret of his childhood to his mysterious encounters with a small-town embalmer, an expert art restorer, a Bavarian countess, and various masters of espionage, the events in Francis’ life were not always what they seemed.
Rounding out the story started by the death of eccentric art patron and collector Francis Cornish in The Rebel Angels, this worthy follow-up, What’s Bred in the Bone, takes you back to Cornish’s humble beginnings in a spellbinding tale of artistic triumph and heroic deceit. It is a tale told in stylish, elegant prose, endowed with lavish portions of Davies’ wit and wisdom.
“Davies’ novel is absorbing, and the understated humor radiates with good sense about the way of the world.”—Los Angeles Times
“Davies’ fiction is animated by his scorn for the ironclad systems that claim to explain the whole of life. Messy, magical, high-spirited life bubbles up between the cracks.”—South Florida Sun-Sentinel
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551 printed pages
Original publication
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  • sinyutinashared an impression3 years ago
    👍Worth reading
    🔮Hidden Depths


  • sinyutinahas quoted3 years ago
    Ah—for Francis the Looner was a lifelong reminder of the inadmissible primitive in the most cultivated life, a lifelong adjuration to pity, a sign that disorder and abjection stand less than a hair’s breadth away from every human creature. A continual counsel to make the best of whatever fortune had given him.
    —But surely, also, a constant pointer to humility? said the Angel.
    —Very much so. And I think that although I had nothing to do with the begetting of the Looner, I made good use of him in the shaping of Francis. So the Looner did not live in vain.
    —Yes, you did well there, brother. And where is the helm set for now?
    —For Oxford.
    —Oxford certainly won’t strengthen the Blairlogie strain, said the Angel.
    —Oxford will strengthen whatever is bred in the bone. And I have already made sure that the Looner, in every aspect, is bred in the bone of Francis. Francis will need all his wits and all his pity at Oxford, said the Daimon.
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