Remember in school you were taught never to include in a book report: Everyone must read this book? Well, that’s what I want to say about ‘Fifth Business.” But instead, I will recommend it to everyone, knowing that not everyone will love it.
Protagonist Dunstan Ramsay writes his memoir in the form of a post-retirement letter to the headmaster of the school were has taught his entire adult life. His purpose is to clarify misgivings about how he is perceived toward the end of his life. His story reveals how he has been the Fifth Business in the lives of others, namely his boyhood friend, Boy, and Mary Dempster, for who he feels responsible due to a childhood accident.
From the NYT, Nov. 25, 1970: “Fifth business? Here is the definition that Davies offers in a preface: "Those roles which, being neither those of Hero nor Heroine, Confidante nor Villain, but which were nonetheless essential to bring about the Recognition or the denouement, were called the Fifth Business in drama and opera companies organized according to the old style; the player who acted these parts was often referred to as Fifth Business."
I read this book word for word. No speed reading possible. I hope you will be on of those everyones who loves it. I will read it again.