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Fifth Business by Robertson Davies

Fifth Business (1970)

by Robertson Davies

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Deptford Trilogy (Book 1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,684713,359 (4.16)1 / 368

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English (61)  Spanish (5)  Catalan (5)  All languages (71)
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
A resounding work that was very well-written. The book is a literary study of a man in Canadian society and features Jungian archetypes as a prime section, and undercurrent, for the book. I was impressed with the style and poise and will definitely be finishing the series.

4 stars! ( )
  DanielSTJ | May 5, 2019 |
Still good. ( )
  jakebornheimer | Mar 27, 2019 |
It has never taken me so long to read a book I wanted to be rid of quickly! The writing is beyond reproach, however the story did not grab me and the main protagonist was infuriatingly unlikable. I really wanted to like this one, but no. ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
An account of a man's life that, seen from the outside, appears banal, but is elevated beyond any such bore by casual association with greatness, by marvelous talent for clever observation phrased perfectly, and by the understanding that one whole human life, if recollected well, is a tremendously complex and impressive thing. Wonderful stuff. ( )
  mrgan | Oct 30, 2017 |
Engaging book so far at a third of the way through. How did I manage to read nothing of Robert Davies after going through grade 13, four years of university, and having read thousands of books? He is so much better than Atwood. ( )
1 vote ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
"A marvelously enigmatic novel, then, elegantly written and driven by irresistible narrative force."

» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Davies, RobertsonAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
BascoveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Godwin, GailIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Fifth Business ... Definition
Those roles which, being neither those of
Hero nor Heroine, Confidante nor Villain,
but were none the less essential to
bring about the Recognition or the denouement
were called the Fifth Business in drama
and opera companies organized according
to the old style; the player who acted these
parts was often referred to as Fifth Business.
- Tho. Overskou, Den Danske Skueplads
First words
My lifelong involvement with Mrs Dempster began at 5:58 o'clock p.m. on 27 December 1908, at which time I was ten years and seven months old.
" ... You despise almost everyone except Paul's mother. No wonder she seems like a saint to you; you have made her carry the affection you should have spread among fifty people. Do not look at me with that tragic face. You should thank me. At fifty years old you should be glad to know something of yourself. That horrid village and your hateful Scots family made you a moral monster. Well, it is not too late for you to enjoy a few years of almost normal humanity."
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Book description
Haiku summary
Wherein a small stone
acts as an antagonist
in a charming book

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141186151, Paperback)

The first novel in Davies's celebrated "Deptford Trilogy" introduces Ramsay, a man who returns from World War I decorated with the Victoria Cross who is destined to be caught in a no man's land where memory, history, and myth collide.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:15 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"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." -- Back cover.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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Average: (4.16)
1 7
1.5 1
2 15
2.5 7
3 82
3.5 37
4 246
4.5 52
5 252

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