Fifth Business

Liesl is a hideously ugly but highly intelligent woman who manages Paul’s magic show. She has read Dunstan’s work on saints and chooses him to write the autobiography of Magnus Eisengrim. Dunstan is physically repulsed by her, yet he admires her intellect. One night she tries to seduce him, but Dunstan fights her off. She comes back to apologize, and tells Dunstan his greatest error in life is learning how to love his work and Mrs. Dempster, and nothing and no one else. Dunstan sleeps with her after this conversation. Later, he will tell Padre Blazon that he met the devil in the form of Liesl, and that she taught him how to live with and enjoy the devil without compromising his own morality (or making a “faustian” bargain).

Liesl Quotes in Fifth Business

The Fifth Business quotes below are all either spoken by Liesl or refer to Liesl. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Religion, Faith, and Morality Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of Fifth Business published in 2001.
Part 5 Quotes

“Life is a spectator sport to you.”

Related Characters: Liesl (speaker), Dunstan Ramsay
Page Number: 208
Explanation and Analysis:

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“You make yourself responsible for other people’s troubles. It is your hobby.”

Related Characters: Liesl (speaker), Dunstan Ramsay
Page Number: 212
Explanation and Analysis:

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“It is not spectacular but it is a good line of work…Are you Fifth Business? You had better find out.”

Related Characters: Liesl (speaker), Dunstan Ramsay
Page Number: 214
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Part 6 Quotes

“Come to Switzerland and join the Basso and the Brazen Head. We shall have some high old times before The Five make an end of us all.”

Related Characters: Liesl (speaker), Dunstan Ramsay
Page Number: 252
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Liesl Character Timeline in Fifth Business

The timeline below shows where the character Liesl appears in Fifth Business. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 5: “Liesl”
Love, Family, and Psychology Theme Icon
3. The hideous woman’s name is Liesl, and she attends lunch the next day. Dunstan discovers she is not so bad as... (full context)
History and Mythology Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Psychology Theme Icon
Dunstan is impressed by Liesl’s knowledge of hagiography (the study and writing of the lives of saints), and has to... (full context)
The Meaning of Success Theme Icon
History and Mythology Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Psychology Theme Icon
...later, when he has grown utterly sick of Eisengrim and his crew. He especially hates Liesl, but their mysterious work appeals to his loneliness and he cannot back out. They sometimes... (full context)
History and Mythology Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Psychology Theme Icon
Dunstan finds himself telling secrets of his life to Liesl, who has a way of drawing information out of him even though he is not... (full context)
The Meaning of Success Theme Icon
History and Mythology Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Psychology Theme Icon
...only a day, until Dunstan passes by her dressing room and is horrified to see Liesl and Faustina naked and pleasuring one another. Dunstan says he has never “known such a... (full context)
Religion, Faith, and Morality Theme Icon
The Meaning of Success Theme Icon
History and Mythology Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Psychology Theme Icon
Late that night, Dunstan answers a knock at his bedroom door and it is Liesl. She sits on his bed and asks him to sit with her, telling him she... (full context)
Religion, Faith, and Morality Theme Icon
Guilt and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Meaning of Success Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Psychology Theme Icon
To Dunstan’s astonishment, Liesl suggests they sleep together. She is stronger than him, and tries to wrestle him down... (full context)
Religion, Faith, and Morality Theme Icon
The Meaning of Success Theme Icon
History and Mythology Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Psychology Theme Icon
...a crucial one, and a “good line of work.” After this long talk, Dunstan and Liesl have sex, with what Dunstan describes as a “healing tenderness.” (full context)
Part 6: “The Soirée of Illusions”
Religion, Faith, and Morality Theme Icon
Guilt and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Meaning of Success Theme Icon
History and Mythology Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Psychology Theme Icon
...sells “like hot cakes.” He writes the book a few days after his encounter with Liesl. Shortly after that, Eisengrim and his crew leave to tour the rest of South America... (full context)
Religion, Faith, and Morality Theme Icon
History and Mythology Theme Icon
...if he has met the Devil yet. Dunstan tells him briefly about his encounter with Liesl. Padre Blazon is thrilled to hear it, and agrees that a relationship with the Devil... (full context)
Religion, Faith, and Morality Theme Icon
Guilt and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Meaning of Success Theme Icon
History and Mythology Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Psychology Theme Icon
...someone asks the Brazen Head “Who Killed Boy Staunton?” and the Brazen Head (voiced by Liesl) responds that he was killed by himself, the woman he knew, the woman he did... (full context)
Religion, Faith, and Morality Theme Icon
The Meaning of Success Theme Icon
History and Mythology Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Psychology Theme Icon
...falls to the ground. When he wakes in the hospital, he finds a note from Liesl, apologizing for causing his illness, and asking him to come to Switzerland and re-join the... (full context)