Fifth Business

I am Canadian, eh!
by Robertson Davies | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0333120116 Global Overview for this book
Registered by gypsysmom of Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on 7/9/2012
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by gypsysmom from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Sunday, November 18, 2012
I am a huge fan of Robertson Davies' work but I haven't read this book by him which Wikipedia says is his "best-known novel, and considered his finest". It is also one of the books on the Ontario short list for Canada Reads 2013. I picked this book up at a church book sale for 25 cents.

Journal Entry 2 by gypsysmom at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Thursday, July 02, 2015
I think I have read this book before as some of the parts seemed familiar especially one particular line but I really do not remember anything substantial about it. When I saw it was on the list of 100 Books the Make you Proud to be Canadian published by CBC Books this year I knew it was the time to read it.

Dunstan (born Dunstable) Ramsey grew up in Deptford, a small Ontario town. His father was the editor of the town newspaper and his mother raised Dunstan and his brother while also helping out neighbours in "matters relating to pregnancy and childbirth". She was called on in this capacity to attend to the Baptist parson's wife, Mrs. Dempster, when her baby came early. The circumstances leading to the premature birth involved Dunstan and his "lifelong friend and enemy" Percy Boyd Staunton. The two had quarrelled over the merits of their respective sleighs and as Dunstan went home Percy followed him throwing snowballs at him. Just as Dunstan got near his house Reverend and Mrs Dempster were seen out for a stroll. To avoid one last snowball from Percy Dunstan darted in front of the couple and the snowball hit Mrs. Dempster. She went down hard and started crying. The baby came that night and Mrs. Ramsey was on hand with the doctor to help out. The baby, Paul, survived but Mrs. Dempster seemed not right in the head; simple as the Deptford people called her. Dunstan felt responsible for what had befallen her and, even when she was disgraced, he continued to visit her. He believed she had performed miracles, including raising his brother from the dead, which led him to study saints for the rest of his life.

The title of the book refers to the theatrical convention that every play and opera must have, besides the hero, heroine, confidante and villain, a role that brings about the conclusion which is called Fifth Business. Dunstan Ramsey is the Fifth Business in this story about fate catching up to a perpetrator even if it takes almost a lifetime. It took me a while to figure out who the fulfilled the role of the confidante and it really could be two people. Dunstan writes this book to the Headmaster of the school where he taught for 45 years because he objected to the inane piece about him that appeared in the school paper. So the Headmaster could be the confidante. On the other hand, there is another character that Dunstan tells all about his life even though he has a reputation as a keeper of secrets. This person doesn't appear until the last third of the book but when you get there you will be intrigued.

This is the first book of the Deptford trilogy; the other books in the trilogy are The Manticore and World of Wonders.

Journal Entry 3 by gypsysmom at Swift Current Mall in Swift Current, Saskatchewan Canada on Sunday, July 19, 2015

Released 4 yrs ago (7/5/2015 UTC) at Swift Current Mall in Swift Current, Saskatchewan Canada


I left this book on a couch near the entrance to Safeway. This release is for the 2015 Canada Days release challenge and for the 2015 52 Towns in 52 Weeks release challenge - Town #36 and for the "I'm Allergic to A in Titles" release challenge.

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