Fifth Business

Davies, Robertson

(Book - 2001)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Fifth Business
"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.

Series that include this title

Publisher: New York :, Penguin Books,, 2001
ISBN: 9780141186153
Branch Call Number: FICTION Dav
Characteristics: xiii, 252 pages ; 20 cm
Alternate Title: 5th business


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Nov 11, 2013
  • lukasevansherman rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

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

Jan 09, 2013
  • lisahiggs rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

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.

Aug 08, 2012
  • musicwithdance rated this: 2 stars out of 5.


Apr 25, 2012
  • LovelyPride rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I re-read this book every year or two, and everytime I read it I discover something new in it.

It's a fantastic study of the role a single, careless action and the resulting guilt (real or imagined) can play in our lives. If you enjoy thoughtful writing and highbrow humour, it will be one of your favourite books.

Feb 03, 2012
  • carmenweiss rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I read this one a long time ago, but I remember really enjoying it. If I have a moment, I'll read it again.

Sep 26, 2011
  • zaire189 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

If you are looking for a thrilling mystery book, this is not the book for you. I admit Fifth Business is a good read and can definitely improve your vocabulary :D but something was missing. It seems like there wasn't really anything that was exciting and keeping you on your toes. I loved Dunny's character development though and the how the mysterious Paul Dempster was portrayed. It is definitely a very complicated book to read and requires a lot of concentration.

Dec 04, 2009
  • vmacneil rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I recently re-read this, and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It was required reading in high school, and I didn't like it at all. Reading it under my own power was much better.

Oct 01, 2009
  • literatefun rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

This novel is a complex work that was written by an obviously smart man and mature writer; however actually reading the book is about as entertaining as watching people have root canals done on them. The main character (Dunstan Ramsay) is an annoying figure who possesses a constant tone of superiority which alternately paints either the reader or other characters in a decidedly negative light.
The book's plot is also quite uninspired, with the most interesting parts being quite of the depressing variety (ie watching the slow but complete collapse of a entire family into suicide and depression)
If you like that kind of thing as well as disturbing carnal scenes and deep but overall meaningless symbolism, then this book is for you.


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Jan 09, 2013
  • lisahiggs rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

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.

Jan 09, 2013
  • lisahiggs rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

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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