Fifth Business by Robertson DaviesFifth Business by Robertson Davies

Fifth Business

byRobertson Davies

Paperback | October 13, 2015

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Ramsay is a man twice born, a man who has returned from the hell of the battle-grave at Passchendaele in World War I decorated with the Victoria Cross and destined to be caught in a no man's land where memory, history, and myth collide. As Ramsay tells his story, it begins to seem that from boyhood, he has exerted a perhaps mystical, perhaps pernicious, influence on those around him. His apparently innocent involvement in such innocuous events as the throwing of a snowball or the teaching of card tricks to a small boy in the end prove neither innocent nor innocuous. Fifth Business stands alone as a remarkable story told by a rational man who discovers that the marvelous is only another aspect of the real.
William Robertson Davies was born in Thamesville, Ontario in 1913. He taught English at the University of Toronto and was an actor, journalist, and newspaper editor before winning acclaim as a novelist with Tempest-Tost, the first of his Salterton trilogy. His most famous trilogy, The Deptford Trilogy--Fifth Business, The Manticore, an...
Title:Fifth BusinessFormat:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 7.73 × 5.04 × 0.67 inPublished:October 13, 2015Publisher:Penguin CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143198246

ISBN - 13:9780143198246


Rated 3 out of 5 by from Fifth Business (The Deptford Trilogy #1) by Robertson Davies Dunstan Ramsay was born in the small town of Deptford, Ontario. In 1908, at the age of ten, he is unknowingly cast in "the vital though never glorious role of Fifth Business" due to an untimely event that will ultimately weigh on his conscience for the rest of his life. This role of course is not a literal one – Dunstan is not an actor in a play or opera, yet he is a person who seems to have an influence on the lives of another small cast of characters in his real life drama. His feelings of guilt over this tragic occurrence will ultimately affect many of the decisions he later makes in his life in order to atone for what he considers to be his sin. His story covers nearly forty years and is told in the form of a first-person sort of memoir. We as readers have to question whether his guilt is such that he should take on so much responsibility for his actions over the course of his life. On the surface, this book seems to be about growing up in a small-minded town, the effect of the horrors of World War I on a man’s body and psyche, the marvel of magic, and an obsession with the saints. It is about those things; but Canadian author Robertson Davies brilliantly weaves all of these elements together into something that is so much more than what we initially perceive. The narrative and the point of view used allow us to glimpse just a bit of what is really happening here a little at a time. While I enjoyed Dunstan’s story throughout, I did not realize just how cleverly this was written until I neared the end. The prose is crisp and clear and oftentimes with a bit of sarcastic wit.
Date published: 2018-07-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredibly Complex Complex, real. It is an incredibly exciting read half the time and slow, but gently inspiring the rest of the time. Slow then fast, dull then enchanting, this is a story of polarities.
Date published: 2017-12-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from High School English I read this in grade 12 English. It was one of the most enjoyable mandatory novels I had to read in my high school career.
Date published: 2017-09-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great! A great read. Very memorable characters
Date published: 2017-09-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful read This book will live with me for years to come. Powerful novel.
Date published: 2017-04-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic Great book and stories; this is the best of the trilogy
Date published: 2017-01-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book Amazing novel and simple yet interesting story. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-12-31
Rated 1 out of 5 by from A For the Lover of Books Review Number of pages: 273 Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1 Rating (out of five stars): 1 Fifth Business is the second book I was forced to read for my English class, and if I had the option to time travel and chose to not read it, I would. I hate this book with a passion. It’s filled with grammar mistakes, horrible characters, and a non-existent plot. The crazy thing is, all I have seen is praise for it. This book is absolutely horrendous. Fifth Business is supposed to be a letter, yet it is a 300 page novel. If I were to receive a 300 page letter in the mail, I would not hesitate to burn it. Also, this novel is Dunstan writing his life story to the headmaster, yet we get no details. There are few descriptions and explanations given. This novel would (I assume) have been rather easy to read when it was published in 1970, as people would have understood some of the things Dunstan talks about, but living in the 21st century, I don't understand a lot of abbreviations used in this book. An example of this is when Dunstan writes "the late Boy Staunton D.S.O., C.B.E. [...]" (6). What is that supposed to mean? The lack of explanations puts barriers between the reader and the content, as it impedes the reader from becoming immersed and invested in the story. This book was not written to stand the test of time. I have seen letter writing used in literature many time before, and it is very hard to do correctly. <em>Fifth Business</em><em> </em>would have been a far better book if each chapter had been a new letter, rather than being one large letter split into chapters/ sections or parts/ chapters (see, even the chapters are confusing). The book should also be significantly shorter. With little to no descriptions, this book is filled with information that is not necessary to the plot, which is how it’s 300 pages long. Overall, I hated Fifth Business with a passion, earning it 1 star out of 5.
Date published: 2016-12-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great novel I really enjoyed this novel, especially since I find psychology really fascinating. It has a lot of Jungian psychology, which made the novel a very good read. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Canadian classic If you ever read only one book in your lifetime, this should be it. A master piece. This is the first book in a trilogy that will stay with you forever. Wonderful.
Date published: 2016-11-04