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About the Author: Mordecai Richler

Mordecai Richler was a Canadian author, screenwriter and essayist.

His best known works are The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1959) and Barney's Version (1997); his 1989 novel Solomon Gursky Was Here was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 1990. He was also well known for the Jacob Two-Two children's stories. .

The son of a Jewish scrap yard dealer, Richler was born in 1931 and raised on St. Urbain Street in the Mile End area of Montreal. He learned Yiddish and English, and graduated from Baron Byng High School. Richler enrolled in Sir George Williams College (now Concordia University) to study English but dropped out before completing his degree.

Years later, Leah Rosenberg, Richler's mother, published an autobiography, The Errand Runner: Memoirs of a Rabbi's Daughter (1981), which discusses Mordecai's birth and upbringing, and the sometime difficult relationship between them.

Richler moved to Paris at age nineteen, intent on following in the footsteps of a previous generation of literary exiles, the so-called Lost Generation of the 1920s, many of whom were from the United States.

Richler returned to Montreal in 1952, working briefly at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, then moved to London in 1954. He published seven of his ten novels while living in London, as well as considerable journalism.

Worrying "about being so long away from the roots of my discontent", Richler returned to Montreal in 1972. He wrote repeatedly about the Jewish community of Montreal and especially about his former neighborhood, portraying it in multiple novels.

In England, in 1954, Richler married Catherine Boudreau, a French-Canadian divorcee nine years his senior. On the eve of their wedding, he met and was smitten by Florence Mann (née Wood), a young married woman.

Some years later Richler and Mann both divorced and married each other. He adopted her son Daniel. The couple had five children together: Daniel, Jacob, Noah, Martha and Emma. These events inspired his novel Barney's Version.

Richler died of cancer at the age of 70.

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Goodreads rating: 4.14

Paperback, Published in Feb 2012 by Sexto Piso Editorial

ISBN10: 8496867781 | ISBN13: 9788496867789

Page count: 583

Barney Panofsky is a seemingly ordinary man who has an extraordinary life: he smokes too many cigars, drinks too much whiskey, and is obsessed with hockey and one of his ex-wives. At age 67 he decides to write the history of his life to dispel the attacks made by his worst enemy, who has just published a book that reveals the most embarrassing incidents in Barney’s past: shady business deals that lead to success, three failed marriages, and the disappearance of Barney’s best friend Boggie, a possible murder in which Barney remains the prime suspect. With a dry humor and a tendency to make fun of every aspect of Barney’s history, this novel journeys through the story of his delightfully dissipated life in his own words.


Barney Panofsky es un hombre aparentemente corriente que tiene una vida extraordinaria: fuma demasiados puros, bebe más whisky de lo que debiera y está obsesionado con el hockey y con una de sus ex esposas. A sus 67 años decide escribir la historia de su vida para desmentir los ataques que su peor enemigo acaba de publicar en un libro que descubre los asuntos más comprometedores del pasado de Barney: turbios acuerdos empresariales que le llevaron al éxito, tres matrimonios fracasados y la misteriosa desaparición de Boggie, el mejor amigo de Barney, un posible asesinato del que sigue siendo el principal sospechoso. Con un humor ácido que le permite burlarse de todos los aspectos de la historia de Barney, esta novela viaje por el relato de su deliciosa vida disipada en sus propias palabras.

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