Review: The Merry Heart

The Merry Heart: Reflections on Reading, Writing, and the World of Books by Robertson Davies. ISBN: 0-670-87366-7

For all of Davies alleged personal faults, he's still one of my favorite novelists. I enjoy rereading his books, and find new elements and details everytime I do.

The essays are vintage Davies, dry, curmudgeonly, and insightful. If this book has a flaw it's that because it's drawn from lectures and presentations given to different groups at different times and places it has a lot of duplicated material, of the last couple of essays a little judicious editing (had he still been alive) could have easily reduced them to a single one.

But this is literary criticism at its best. Not just criticism of other works, but his own, too. His comments on the Deptford Trilogy, his inspirations, what he sees in Dunstan Ramsey's revelations, are wonderful.

A bit dense, and will take a while to get through, but for the most part well worth the reading. If in the last few essays you find a lot of material repeated they're easily skipped.

Monday, August 31st, 1998