"An amazing coup . . . a brilliant, never less than engaging work of fiction which is also a philosophical meditation on the business of living."-Financial Times
When Father Hobbes mysteriously dies at the high alter on Good Friday, Dr. Jonathan Hullah-whose holistic work has earned him the label "Cunning Man" (for the wizard of folk tradition)-wants to know why. The physician-cum-diagnostician's search for answers compels him to look back over his own long life. He conjures vivid memories of the dazzling, intellectual high-jinks and compassionate philosophies of himself and his circle, including flamboyant, mystical curate Charlie Iredale; cynical, quixotic professor Brocky Gilmartin; outrageous banker Darcy Dwyer; and jocular, muscular artist Pansy Todhunter. In compelling and hilarious scenes from the divine comedy of life, The Cunning Man reveals profound truths about being human.
"Wise, humane and consistently entertaining . . . Robertson Davies's skill and curiosity are as agile as ever, and his store of incidental knowledge is a constant pleasure."-The New York Times Book Review
"The sparkling history of [the] erudite and amusing Dr. Hullah, who knows the souls of his patients as well as he knows their bodies . . . never fails to enlighten and delight."-The London Free Press
"Davies is a good companion. Settling into The Cunning Man is like taking a comfortable chair opposite a favorite uncle who has seen and done everything."-Maclean's
"Irresistible, unflaggingly vital. A wholehearted and sharp-minded celebration of the Great Theatre of Life."-The Sunday Times
"A novel brimming with themes of music, poetry, beauty, philosophy, death and the deep recesses of the mind."-The Observer
Robertson Davies (1913-1995) was born and raised in Ontario, and was educated at a variety of schools, including Upper Canada College, Queen's University, and Balliol College, Oxford. He had three successive careers: as an actor with the Old Vic Company in England; as publisher of the Peterborough Examiner; and as university professor and first Master of Massey College at the University of Toronto, from which he retired in 1981 with the title of Master Emeritus.
He was one of Canada's most distinguished men of letters, with several volumes of plays and collections of essays, speeches, and belles lettres to his credit. As a novelist, he gained worldwide fame for his three trilogies: The Salterton Trilogy, The Deptford Trilogy, and The Cornish Trilogy, and for later novels Murther and Walking Spirits and The Cunning Man.
His career was marked by many honors: He was the first Canadian to be made an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, he was a Companion of the Order of Canada, and he received honorary degrees from twenty-six American, Canadian, and British universities.