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Publisher's Summary

Francis Cornish was always good at keeping secrets. From the well-hidden family secret of his childhood to his mysterious encounters with a small-town embalmer, an expert art restorer, a Bavarian countess, and various masters of espionage, the events in Francis' life were not always what they seemed.
This wonderfully ingenious portrait of an art expert and collector of international renown is told in stylish, elegant prose and endowed with lavish portions of Davies' wit and wisdom.
Robertson Davies (1913 - 1995) was an internationally acclaimed author, actor, publisher, and, finally, professor at the University of Toronto. The author of 12 novels and several volumes of essays and plays, he was the first Canadian to be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
©1985 by Robertson Davies; (P)1996 by Blackstone Audiobooks
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Critic Reviews

"Extraordinary.... A gripping story of artistic triumph and heroic deceit, told with deep insight into the worlds of art and international espionage. This work is tailor-made for the eloquence of narrator Frederick Davidson." (Library Journal)
"Davidson's carefully modulated, vocalized reading brings to life the gallery of players in Cornish's world, working together with Davies's rich prose to peel back layer after layer of deceit." (Kliatt)
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Customer Reviews

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By Nancy on 04-20-04

More Fabulous Robertson Daview

I loved this book (including the reader) and only wish it would go on and on. Less humerous and a bit darker than some of Robertson Davies' others (Salterton Tril, for example) but equally as entertaining. With Davies' superb subtlety and attention to detail and his extraordinary characters and their surroundings, the story of Francis Cornish takes us through the first half of the 20th century and two world wars almost as an aside. The Francis, the story and the words are the thing, well read and exquisitely crafted. A really brilliant, thought provoking work.

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14 of 14 people found this review helpful


By connie on 04-05-08

Classic Can Lit

Recently I had the opportunity to listen to dozens of novels as I convalesced. This was one of my favorites as both novel and listening experience, undertaken just after a marathon of George Eliot,Trollope, & Galsworthy. Although Frederick Davidson is one of my favorite narrators, I was at first disappointed that a Brit was reading Can Lit, but he turned out to be almost perfect. His "almost British accent" while narrating suited perfectly a novel set in a time when Canada was emerging slowly from its colonialist ties to England. Some of Davidson's "Canadian" voices sounded a little "south of the border" to my ears, and I cringed when he at first anglicized the pronunciation of "Prime Minister Laurier," but overall, the narration was delightful, and the accents no more artificial than when a North American takes a stab at British dialects, I suppose.

Bred in the Bone is both a traditional novel and contemporary - A tale told traditionally but by an author with contemporary social and psychological insight and delightful wit. I wish Audible featured more of Davies' novels! And more classic Can Lit!

If you're looking for a clever read but without too much postmodern angst, this may be for you.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By CMoon on 10-27-11

A book greater than the sum of its words

Excellent book, very well narrated. Couldn't stop listening. Very inspiring for any artist. Beyond the obvious.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful


By TDJO on 08-27-17

Excellent story and good performance

This is my favourite of all Davies' books, and as an audiobook it is entertaining and very enjoyable. At first I did not like the narration but once the story got underway and the reader started providing voices for the characters, he was excellent.
I'd recommend this very highly.

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