Fifth Business: The Deptford Trilogy, Book 1
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Fifth Business: The Deptford Trilogy, Book 1
Robertson Davies
Literature
Aug 9, 2018
A boy packs a rock into a snowball and throws it at a friend, who ducks out of the way; the missile hits a pregnant woman, provoking premature labor. The Deptford Trilogy follows the unforeseen and ever-widening effects of that misguided prank at the start of Fifth Business across decades and continents, through the lives of many characters and into realms of religion, psychology, and magic. From page one, the reader is lured into a high-spirited and often very funny chase—after passing facts, ultimate truths, and continuous entertainment—by a virtuoso storyteller. The three novels—each of which, remarkably, stands on its own and can be read independently of the others—echo and amplify one another. The first novel, Fifth Business, focuses on Dunstan Ramsay, the boy who ducked, tracing his life as a soldier, teacher, and scholar of saints in the enduring shadows of Percy “Boy” Staunton, young snowball thrower and eventual business titan, and Mary Dempster, the unfortunate—but perhaps holy—target of the errant projectile. The tale begins with the wintry incident and ends with Boy Staunton’s death decades later in mysterious circumstances. It is a fast-paced narrative in which the author’s gifts for observation and invention summon into being a reality that is both familiar and deliciously weird, peopled—like the tales of Dickens—with characters whose attributes are exaggerated to a degree that refines, rather than destroys, our recognition of their essential humanity.
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Dec 2, 2018
Twists and turns. Lovely style.
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Apr 6
Gripping
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