Fifth Business Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Fifth Business

In this first book of Davies' trilogy, a snowball aimed at Ramsay by his childhood friend Percy Boyd Staunton hits the pregnant Mrs. Dempster. Mrs. Dempster gives birth to Paul prematurely, and Ramsay finds himself feeling guilty over Paul's condition and Mrs. Dempster's subsequent decline. Ramsay develops an obsession with the Dempsters, although he seems unable to help them. Eventually, Paul Dempster runs away. Ramsay also leaves the small Canadian town where he grows up. He fights in the war and returns to teach. He develops an interest in hagiography and travels the world in search of icons of saints. In his travels, he encounters the unusual heiress Liesl and a famous illusionist. Ramsay's childhood friend Percy Boyd Staunton has become an important and powerful man in Canada, although it is clear that both he and Ramsay still hide secrets and buried pain from the past. As Ramsay uncovers his own history, he also finds the true cruelty and true vulnerability of Staunton.
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The review of this Book prepared by A. Antonow

Chapter Analysis of Fifth Business

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1930's-1950's Other aspects:    -   best enemies Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Ethnic/regional/gender life    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   teacher Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


The Americas (not US):    -   Yes The Americas:    -   Canada Small town?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only    -   descript of kissing Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Robertson Davies Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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