Manticore Month begins…

June 13, 2010

June is Manticore Month, a time to celebrate the majestic and revered manticore in all its incarnations. For those who have never seen one in a zoo or in the wild, a manticore is a creature with the body of a lion, the head of a man, three sets of razer-sharp teeth, and the tail of a scorpion or dragon.

The manticore: handsome devil

To kick things off, I’m reading The Manticore, a 1972 novel by Canadian author Robertson Davies. In order to give me an idea what I was in for, I found an online overview of the novel. You can read it here, but for those of you who’d like an overview of the overview, read on.

The overview gives a brief summary of the book, followed by more details in list form. Highlights below:

Tone of book: depressed

Internal struggle/realization? Yes.

All right, sounds good so far.

Main character serviced by prostitute? Yes.

Excellent. This doesn’t seem central to the plot of the novel, so it must just be FYI. Unfortunately, no page numbers are given.

Battle with psychiatrist? Yes.

It’s unclear if the psychiatrist also battles a prostitute.

Main character profession/status: a lawyer creature.

Is this an ordinary person caught up in events? Yes.

I don’t know what a “lawyer creature” is, but it doesn’t seem entirely ordinary.

How much descriptions of surroundings? 5.

Apparently out of 10. This seems fairly subjective—one man’s 5 is another man’s 8. Also, no numerical value is given for descriptions of the prostitute.

Style: Person: Mostly 1st.

Thank god. 3rd person books are boring.

Robertson Davies, who in old age became indistinguishable from a manticore


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