Friday, November 14, 2008

Review of Fifth Business

I thoroughly enjoyed my first Robertson Davies experience. My book club decided that we needed to get over our fear of Canadian authors, so this book was suggested by one of the two Canadians in the club. Considered a classic, Fifth Business tells the story of Dunstable 'Dunstan' Ramsey, following him from his small-town Ontario town through WWI and his career as a school teacher.

Fifth Business was a terrific book, not only because Robertson Davies is such a good writer, but also because the characters are so rich and well defined. Davies created dynamic and complex characters, without over-writing them, and for the most part, his story arc was very engaging. There was only one part about half-way through where I felt the story lagged, but it was momentary and picked back up within 40 pages or so.

Davies is known for his interest in Freud and Jung, and his familiarity with analytical concepts emerges throughout the novel, particularly with respect to characters' relationships with their mothers. I found this refreshing, and was impressed by his ability to write about emotions and behaviors of individual characters in a way that was not forced.

What I liked most about this book was the 'voice' of the novel - it was honest, often funny, but mostly sincere.



beemused said...

"fear of Canadian authors". that is funny, but sadly true. as a canadian, I have it too at times.
Timothy Findley helped get me over my fear a while ago (Not Wanted On the Voyage), and is another excellent writer worth checking out.

Kate W. Ladell said...

Thanks Beemused. I'll check it out.