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Download The Cunning Man Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Cunning Man, by Robertson Davies Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,253 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robertson Davies Narrator: Frederick Davidson Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From an early age, Jonathan Hullah developed “a high degree of cunning” in concealing what his true nature might be. He kept himself on the outside, watching and noticing, most often in the company of those who bore watching.

As the Cunning Man takes us through his own long and ardent life, chronicling his varied adventures in the worlds of theatre, art, and music, in the Canadian Army during World War II, and in the doctor’s consulting room, his preoccupation is not with sorrow but with the comedic canvas of life.

Just as Dr. Hullah practices a type of psychosomatic medicine “by which I attempt to bring about changes in the disease syndromes through language,” so does Robertson Davies intertwine language and story, as perhaps never before, to offer us profound truths about being human.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Admirers of the late actor James Mason will delight in the narrative gifts of Frederick Davidson, who also projects a delicious irony in the instrument of his voice. And what better material to give expression to that talent than Robertson Davies', Canada's most prodigious ironist…Davidson's reading never flags. He remains buoyant and wry throughout, a witty companion to have on a long journey.”


  • “A delight.”

    Boston Sunday Globe

  • “A novel in which Davies’ clear-sighted humanism, irony, and grasp of character are on vivid display…Davies’ command of both his material and his elegant first-person narration is absolute. He achieves a remarkable sense of uncloying elegy in his vision of a group of people who are far more complicated than they appear, yet always utterly believable. To call a book the work of an infinitely civilized mind might seem starchy; to add that it is also wonderfully funny, poignant, and never less than totally engrossing should redress the balance.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “It is always a pleasure to read works that manage to be both entertaining and intelligent…While the issues addressed are those that have long preoccupied Davies—the nature of friendship, religion, faith, and artistic life—the approach is anything but pompous and dry. Davies' characterizations are rich (and just a bit quirky) and his commentary filled with humor. One of those rare novels that can be wholeheartedly recommended for libraries of every type and size, including high schools.”

    Library Journal

  • “Popular Canadian author Davies has written a sort of metaphysical mystery story…compelling.”


  • “Davies deftly combines metaphysics, magic, and modern medicine to tell a contemporary story with ancient roots…Set in that urbane part of Toronto where art, academe, and old money comfortably mingle, the novel also explores familiar Davies themes of friendship, faith, and art…A splendid intellectual romp as well as an absorbingly literate novel. Davies at his best.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • One of Modern Library's 100 Best English-Language Novels of the Twentieth Century

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Tom Hannis | 2/5/2014

    " A cunning read! Recommended for all my Canadian friends. Hard to describe. It's about life and fate. Enjoy! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Huw Evans | 12/23/2013

    " Roberston Davies is a master of quiet understatement and the hidden subplot. He writes so beautifully, with such care and mastery of English that he is a pleasure to read. The protagonist is Dr Jonathon Hulla, a physician and psychotherapist, who observes events with the same quiet neutrality that he observes his patients. The characters are fascinating and the central theme surrounding the death of a saintly old priest unravels many secrets. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Elizabeth | 12/16/2013

    " I loved this slow philosophical meandering story and I hope to read some of the authors earlier works. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Robert Wright | 12/10/2013

    " This hasn't reached the heights of the Deptford or Cornish Trilogy, but excellent so far. "

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