I’m grateful to Ricardo Bosque for reminding me that Robertson Davis’ Murther & Walking Spirits was published in Spanish by Libros del Asteroide in September last year. And I have run to buy it. It looks incredible. Stay tuned.
First sentence: “I was never so amazed in my life as when the Sniffer drew his concealed weapon from its case and struck me to the ground, stone dead.”
So begins the unusual story of Connor “Gil” Gilmartin when he catches his wife in flagrante with the Sniffer, his former colleague and now his murderer. Though he is struck dead in the very first line of this novel, death is only the first indignity Gil is about to suffer. For he lingers on as a ghost, and from this bleak vantage–made even less endurable by the fact that he must spend the afterlife sitting beside his killer at a film festival–he is forced to view the exploits and failures of his ancestors, from the forerunners who sailed up the Hudson to Canada during the American Revolution right up to his university-professor parents. (Penguin Random House Canada)
Robertson Davies was born and raised in Ontario and was educated at a variety of schools, Upper Canada College, Queen’s University, and Balliol College, Oxford. He had three successive careers: first as an actor with the Old Vic Company in England; then as publisher of the Peterborough Examiner; and most recently as a university professor and first Master of Massey College at the University of Toronto, from which he retired in 1981. He was without doubt one of Canada’s most distinguished men of letters, with over thirty books to his credit, among them several volumes of plays, as well as collections of essays, speeches, and belles lettres. As a novelist he gained fame far beyond Canada’s borders, especially for his Deptford trilogy, Fifth Business, The Manticore, and World of Wonders, and for his last five novels, The Rebel Angels, What’s Bred in the Bone, The Lyre of Orpheus, Murther & Walking Spirit, and The Cunning Man. His career was marked by many honours: he was, for example, the first Canadian to become an honorary Member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He was a Companion of the Order of Canada, and Honorary Fellow of Balliol, and received an honorary D.Litt. from Oxford. Robertson Davies passed away in 1995.