Fifth Business (CompactDisc)

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Product Overview

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 non-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. His apparently innocent involvement in such innocuous events as the throwing of a snowball or the teaching of card tricks to a small boy proves, in the end, neither innocent nor innocuous.The first novel in the celebrated Deptford Trilogy, Fifth Business stands alone as the remarkable story of a rational man who discovers that the marvelous is only another aspect of the real.


Publisher Brilliance Audio
Mfg Part# 9781441885869
SKU 216375368
Format CD
ISBN10 1441885862
Release Date 8/13/2012
Author Info
Robertson Davies
Davies was born in a small Canadian town that he later drew on when he created the town of Deptford in his famous trilogy. The son of a senator, he studied literature both in his native Canada and at Oxford, where he received a B.Lit. in 1938 with a thesis on Shakespeare's boy actors. After university, he worked in the theater--as an actor and also behind the scenes--including a stint at the Old Vic, and remained infatuated with it all his life. Several of his plays were produced upon his return to Canada, though they were never as well-received as his novels, and he was an important figure in the founding of the world-renowned Stratford Festival in Ontario. In 1942, he turned to journalism, and was, in turn, a writer, editor, and publisher for the Peterborouth (Ontario) Examiner, where he also served as a columnist under the name Samuel Marchbanks, whose humorous essays were later collected in three volumes. Beginning in 1960, Davies taught at the University of Toronto, and in 1961 was appointed Master of Massey College there, a post he retained until his retirement in 1981. He published criticism, essays, and--of course--fiction, beginning with TEMPEST-TOST (1951) and ending with THE CUNNING MAN (1994). Davies was a fundamentally shy and modest man who delighted in also being a bit of a mystery; he kept his private life largely to himself. He was married to Brenda Mathews, an Englishwoman he worked with at the Old Vic in London, and they had a daughter, Rosamond. When Davies died, at 82, of a sudden heart attack, he was writing an opera and planning a book on old age.
"Davies's characters have too sparse an identity beyond their obsessive quirks and allusions. And a novel covering 60 years in the form of a 300-page letter, suffers for want of dramatic tension."
"[S]pooky, melodramatic, utterly enthralling: Who would have thought a stone in a snowball could change the lives of so many people?"
"This is a rare book."
"Intelligently conceived and intelligently narrated, free from gimmicks and tricks; not at all mod, it makes no appeals to current fashions in style or content, neither pandering to the reader nor taking on the universe, but is full of the art that conceals itself....You should read this book even if you have to buy it."
From the Publisher
Annotation This novel exploring notions of fate and identity is an early work by one of modern Canada's most celebrated writers, the first in his Deptford Trilogy. The story portrays the complicated fortunes of four characters linked together by a snowball thrown on December 27, 1908 in the Canadian town of Deptford: Boy Staunton (who threw it), Mary Dempster (who was struck by it), Paul Dempster (who was born prematurely as a result), and Leola Cruikshank (who marries Staunton years later). The story is narrated by a schoolteacher named Dunstan Ramsay, who is involved in various ways with all these characters, and whose own story forms the basis for the story.
Editors Note A retiring Canadian history professor reveals the true nature of his eerie, mystical influence on those around him. Read by Marc Vietor.
Product Attributes
Book Format Audio Cassette - Unabridged / Audio CD - Unabridged
Number of Pages 6
Publisher Brilliance Corporation
Series Part 01
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