The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
Publication Date: November 1, 1989
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The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz is the novel that established Mordecai Richler as one of the world’s best comic writers. Growing up in the heart of Montreal’s Jewish ghetto, Duddy Kravitz is obsessed with his grandfather’s saying, “A man without land is nothing.” In his relentless pursuit of property and his drive to become a somebody, he will wheel and deal, he will swindle and forge, he will even try making movies. And in spite of the setbacks he suffers, the sacrifices he must make along the way, Duddy never loses faith that his dream is worth the price he must pay. This blistering satire traces the eventful coming-of-age of a cynical dreamer. Amoral, inventive, ruthless, and scheming, Duddy Kravitz is one of the most magnetic anti-heroes in literature, a man who learns the hard way that dreams are never exactly what they seem, even when they do come true.
Mordecai Richler was born in Montreal in 1931. The author of ten successful novels, numerous screenplays, and several books of non-fiction, his novel, Barney's Version, was an acclaimed bestseller and the winner of The Giller Prize, the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour, the QSpell Award, and the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Novel in the Caribbean and Canada region. Richler also won two Governor General’s Awards and was shortlisted twice for the Booker Prize.
Mordecai Richler died in Montreal in July 2001.
When David Sax was 11, his father handed him The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz and said: "Read this if you want to know where I came from." Mordecai Richler's novel about an ambitious teen from Montreal's Jewish working class helped Sax learn to appreciate the immigrant drive. More at NPR.org
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“Duddy Kravitz sits alone in its urbanity, energy, relevance, direction and raw talent.”
“It burgeons with its special talent and vulgar vitality.”
“Richler [is] one of North America’s most powerful novelists.”
“Richler has been praised highly for his clear-eyed vision and his realistic style. This novel will confirm that estimate… the total effect is brash and blatant as a sports car rally – and as suggestive of power.”
–New York Times Book Review
“There can be no doubt of [Richler’s] prodigal talent.”
–Times Literary Supplement