by Robertson Davies
The first part of the Cornish Trilogy. Alternating between two narrators – Maria, a half gypsy graduate student in love with her mentor and a Simon, a priest who teaches at the University and falls for her – the book tells a complex story of love, lust, art, pride, scholarship, academic rivalry and criminal actions. John Parlabane, a defrocked gay monk and sort of evil genius, stirs up the brew with his sharp eyes and tongue, yet somehow it tuns out right for the characters whom the reader sympathizes with. At times I felt there may have been a bit too much academic talk, but the book is after all set at a University, and Davies is very, very good at it. As he is with dialogue, depth of characterization and humor. A fascinating tale, told in expert fashion, in short.