Fifth Business

Fifth Business

Book - 2001
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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.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 2001.
ISBN: 9780141186153
0141186151
Characteristics: xiii, 252 p. ; 20 cm.
Alternative Title: 5th business

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c
cherstaite
Apr 19, 2017

It kept me entertained. I've order the next one in the trilogy. That's saying a lot because I have to admit I've been pretty disappointed by a lot I've read lately.

d
DorisWaggoner
Feb 19, 2017

This is my second reading of the Deptford Trilogy, with decades between. I'd remembered the opening scene clearly, but most of the rest of "Fifth Business" had faded. An interesting Canadian version of magical realism, I thought, before being told. Sometimes I thought it was very depressing, sometimes hilarious. Davies is definitely a strong writer, though in a few cases I knew where he was headed before he got there. That's not always a bad thing. The Penguin Classic version I read had a wonderful cover painting that matched the plot and characters. I'm on to "The Manticore."

a
allmalt
Jul 06, 2016

This is the book Nicholas Meyer, director of Star Trek II, wanted to make into a film but was never able to get a studio interested in doing it.

r
rheal4
Apr 30, 2016

I enjoyed this book. The characters are interesting and Dunstan Ramsay lead an interesting life and I enjoyed how different aspects of his life intersected multiple times and all come together in the end.

w
wyenotgo
Aug 03, 2015

This book, the first of the Deptford Trilogy, was my introduction to Robertson Davies and I've liked his work ever since. To begin with, his account of his character's early life in a small Ontario village certainly rang true. And then he takes his reader on quite a remarkable journey of self-discovery -- even including an encounter with the Devil!

Shannon_Z Apr 20, 2015

Loved this classic CanLit book with rich characters and fast moving plot.

h
HunterHearts
Mar 18, 2015

A great book that compromises on plot development, but focuses heavily on characters and story-telling, and delivers in those regards. Ignore the trilogy if you didn't like this one, but go ahead and read the next two for more in-depth character analysis.

l
lukasevansherman
Nov 11, 2013

With "The Manticore" and "World of Wonders" this forms "The Deptford Trilogy."

l
lisahiggs
Jan 09, 2013

Sweet and slightly magical prose about small towns and wars and growing older. But how is this a trilogy about how Boy Staunton died? Didn’t we get the answer at the end of this book? I’m satisfied enough with what I already know that I have no desire to pick up the other two books.

m
musicwithdance
Aug 08, 2012

boring

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l
lisahiggs
Jan 09, 2013

But even Calvinism can be endured, if you will make some compromise with yourself. But you – there is a whole great piece of your life that is unlived, denied, set aside. That is why at fifty you can’t bear it any longer and fly all to pieces and pour out your heart to the first really intelligent woman you have met and get into a schoolboy yearning for a girl who is as far from you as if she lived on the moon. This is the revenge of the unlived life, Ramsay. Suddenly it makes a fool of you.

l
lisahiggs
Jan 09, 2013

He had another delusion of the political novice: he was going to apply ‘sound business principles’ to government and thereby give it a fine new gloss.

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