In anticipation of discussing the work with my fiction book group, I have finished my third or fourth reading of Robertson Davies’ masterful Fifth Business, the first novel in his “Deptford Trilogy.” (I am terribly conflicted about whether Wendell Berry or Robertson Davies, among the people I read regularly gives me the greatest joy. But perhaps I don’t have to choose.) I expect to have some more things to say about it, but this weekend as I was reveling in the story, my eye and mind were drawn to one particular passage that I have failed to pay much attention to. I think that oversight indicates some really sloppy reading on my part, because I think the paragraph I cite below highlights and focuses one of the major themes of the book. But I don’t want to say more than that now.
Thus Padre Blazon:
My own idea is that when He [i.e., Jesus Christ] comes again it will be to
Although I didn't intend to add this, I can't resist one more paragraph. Later in the novel, Ramsay looks up Padre Blazon, who is in a kind of hospice, cared for by some nuns. At their parting, Ramsay asks his friend whether he has found a God to teach him how to be old (confessing that he himself had not yet done so). Padre Blazon responds with his old insouciance,