Friday, November 27, 2009

Fifth Business (Penguin Modern Classics) Fifth Business by Robertson Davies

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this first book in the Deptford Trilogy. This story follows the life of Dunstable Ramsay from his life in provincial Deptford to the trenches in WWI to his career as a schoolmaster and most importantly his interest in saints and writings about them and where that leads him. Another key part of the story is when he ducks a snowball and it hits a pregnant woman resulting in a premature birth of her baby. This experience and his resulting guilt and responsibility for Mary Demptster shapes much of his future decisions. The book is written as a letter to his headmaster on his retirement from teaching. Ramsay was offended at the write-up of his life as a dull schoolmaster and seeks to clarify what his life was really like and who he really is.

The book is beautifully written, much of it is introspective but doesn't become boring or whiny as some largely introspective books do. I could read this several more times and get more out of it. The prose is fun to read and I enjoyed his interactions with others, especially the hideous but intriguing Liesl. I was wondering the whole book what in the world Fifth Business is and when I found out, it was well worth the wait and the part Fifth Business played in the end of the book is really great.

Definitely excited to read the next books, it is hard to imagine what else could happen to Dunny, but I will love reading about it.

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