The Rebel Angels by Robertson Davies

I worked out of the University of Saskatchewan in the 1990s.

During those years, I read all the books of Robertson Davies, one of Canada’s greatest novelists.

His Deptford Trilogy and this book were set at the fictional College of St. John and Holy Ghost, affectionately referred to as “Spook“.

I loved how he mocked the Ivory Tower. 😀

As I recall, Rebel Angels was my favourite of his many great books.

For some reason, I decided to re-read it.

Two events spark the plot: the return of Brother John Parlabane, an ex-monk and -drug addict, and the death of Francis Cornish, a local patron of the arts. Parlabane becomes a university parasite, sleeping on couches and hitting up Maria, Hollier and Anglican priest Simon Darcourt for money. …

… Maria – no fewer than five male characters fall in love with her over the course of the novel. A sort of Helen of Troy (her first names bring to mind the presumed harlot from the Bible, while her surname means “God-bearer”), she is so beautiful that she sows conflict and heartache wherever she goes. …

The title refers to angels thrown out of heaven, and is Maria’s shorthand for the trio of Darcourt, Hollier and Parlabane. Parlabane is explicitly likened to Lucifer and Satan, making him an embodiment of evil. …

Rebecca Foster – Bookish Beck

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