The Cunning Man

  • by Robertson Davies
  • Narrated by Frederick Davidson
  • 16 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

"Should I have taken the false teeth?" This is what Dr. Jonathan Hullah, a former police surgeon, thinks after he watches Father Hobbes die in front of the High Altar at Toronto's St. Aidan's on the morning of Good Friday. How did the good father die? We do not learn the answer until the very end of this "Case Book" of a man's rich and highly observant life.
But we learn much more about many things, and especially about Dr. Hullah, as the Cunning Man takes us through his own long and ardent life of theatre, art, and music; varied adventures in the Canadian Army during World War II; and the secrets of a doctor's consulting room, his preoccupation is not with sorrow but with the comedic canvas of life.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

What a shame!

This is a delicious novel by a superb author, and read by one of the all-time masters of narration. But the quality of the recording is so degraded it's virtually incomprehensible. The sound reminds me of recordings of radio broadcasts in the 1930's. Or like it's coming from deep under the water. Another reviewer mentioned this; I wish I'd sampled before I bought.

I really think Audible should lean on the books' publishers (Blackstone Audio in this instance) to come up with an earlier generation recording. It was published fairly recently (1999); there's no reason it has to be this bad.
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- victoria

sound quality adjusted in E format?

Like an earlier reviewer, I stopped listening to this early into my initial attempt after a Dec. 2010 download (Format 4)---however, after a recent hard drive death, I re-downloaded several novels to find this one, now available in Enhanced format, much improved. Though the sound still has that "dated" feel, it's passable - and even if Frederic Davidson sounds in spots like he's popped a valium, overall, he seems to be having fun narrating this novel, so it's enjoyable.

Robertson Davies' strong narrative, excellent writing, and dry wit -- even in second rate sound quality -- surpass 90% of other listening available (and it's a bonus if you either love or hate Toronto!) I hope Audible resurrects or records "Murther & Walking Spirits" to complement "Cunning Man."
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- connie "Narrative makes the world go round."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-27-2012
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.