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When a sixty-seven-year-old Canadian rascal named Bernard Panofsky decides to write “the true story of my wasted life.” the result is Barney’s Version, Mordecai Richler’s wickedly funny blend of satire, social commentary, and brilliant introspection on the state of contemporary life.
Hoping to rebut the charges about him made in a rival’s autobiography Barney feels compelled to pen his account of events. From his bohemian misadventures during the 1950s in Paris to the fortune he amassed through his trashy TV company Totally Unnecessary Productions and the three women he married, he quickly proves that his memory may be slipping, but his bile isn’t. He skewers feminists, politicians, the bourgeoisie, fads, social movements, and most of all himself. And when it comes to being charged with the murder of his own best friend—caught in bed with the second Mrs. Panofsky—Barney’s version is as contradictory…[more]
The elusive Solomon Gursky died in a plane crash. Or did he? Thats one of many questions 52-year-old sexually dysfunctional biographer Moses Berger is determined to answer. Long obsessed with the insanely wealthy, bootlegging Jewish-Canadian Gursky clan, Berger is desperately trying to chronicle the stories of their lives. But solving the mystery has its problems: namely, the Gurskys confusing & convoluted family tree & Bergers own unyielding fondness for alcohol. This is an irreverent, labyrinthine, & bitingly hilarious work of brilliant invention. Extravagantly adventurous & malevolently comic.
St. Urbain’s Horseman is a complex, moving, and wonderfully comic evocation of a generation consumed with guilt—guilt at not joining every battle, at not healing every wound.
Thirty-seven-year-old Jake Hersh is a film director of modest success, a faithful husband, and a man in disgrace. His alter ego is his cousin Joey, a legend in their childhood neighbourhood in Montreal. Nazi-hunter, adventurer, and hero of the Spanish Civil War, Joey is the avenging horseman of Jake’s impotent dreams. When Jake becomes embroiled in a scandalous trial in London, England, he puts his own unadventurous life on trial as well, finding it desperately wanting as he steadfastly longs for the Horseman’s glorious return.
Irreverent, deeply felt, as scathing in its critique of social mores as it is uproariously funny, St. Urbain’s Horseman confirms Mordecai Richler’s reputation as a pre-eminent observer of the hypocrisies and absurdities of modern life.