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The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz Mass Market Paperback – Nov 1 1989
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The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz is a novel about costs. How much will Duddy sacrifice to get what he wants? "Born with a rusty spoon in his mouth," Duddy is a hustler and a schemer, scrambling to acquire the idyllic lakefront property he thinks will raise him out of the Jewish ghetto of post-war Montreal, where "the boys grew up dirty and sad, spiky also, like grass beside the railroad tracks." In the hilarious and tragic progress of his career, Duddy--along with everyone around him--discovers how much he will pay for material success.
Duddy's Uncle Benjy sums him up as "two people": "The scheming little bastard I saw so easily and the fine intelligent boy underneath that your grandfather, bless him, saw." Simcha, the stern but adoring immigrant grandfather, becomes the locus for Duddy's battle with ends and means. An embodiment of old-world values, Simcha impresses upon Duddy the maxim, "A man without land is nobody," never anticipating the depths (lying, forgery, theft, manipulation) to which Duddy will stoop to acquire the resort land to launch his empire. Breaking Simcha's heart with his unscrupulous victory, Duddy loses the respect, and--at least emotionally--the life he wanted: "a boy can be two, three, four potential people, but a man is only one. He murders the others."
Duddy Kravitz is the novel that moved Mordecai Richler into the stable of major 20th-century novelists, and it did so at a time (1959) when "world famous" and "Canadian novelist" were mutually exclusive terms. Like so many of the anti-heroes of Richler's contemporaries John Updike and Philip Roth, Duddy is neither likeable nor forgettable. Sadly, or perhaps thankfully, Duddy is all too human. --Darryl Whetter
“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
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Top Customer Reviews
A million years back I saw the film, and was okay with it.
But Duddy still beckoned to me, for literally decades and decades.
So finally I jumped into the life and times of the young Mr. Kravitz and came away with one big huge meh.
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz was written by late Canadian icon Mordecai Richler and is considered by many to be a classic. Richler never truly admitted, far as I know, that Duddy was largely him, but I could see it being very truth.
My chief exposure to Richler was from his media appearances over the years talking about politics and culture, saying things that often infuriated the Quebec separatists and several others. His feisty nature was interesting and his intelligence, combined with an analytical wit, made Richler an important voice to be listened to.
But back to Kravitz, the maybe alias of Richler.
Duddy Kravitz is the tale of a teen boy in late 1940’s Montreal who wants to be a somebody, a somebody with money and power, because then he will get respect, from the community but mostly from his family.
To this end, Duddy is constantly running schemes legal and illegal, all to make lots and lots of money. This, along with a smart mouth and a bad attitude, gets him into loads of trouble. Once out of high school, Duddy keeps his plans agoing and suddenly comes upon the grandest plan of them all, this time involving land. This begins a rather lengthy quest to gain ownership of this land, by hook or by crook. And of course bad consequences.
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz has two strikes against it and one strike for it from my reading.
Duddy Kravitz is very very very unlikable.Read more ›
Troy Parfitt is the author of War Torn: Adventures in the Brave New Canada.
This is a story of ambition run amok! A precocious upstart trying to satiate his obsessive perception of success. Duddy's particular obsession is this phrase that "a man without land is nobody!" Richler creates a fascinating (realistic, albeit despicable) character here in Duddy. There were a few redeeming moments, but most of the time I just wanted to strangle Duddy... in fact, my feelings for Duddy alternated between wanting to strangle him and then (next page) laugh at him. He's such a shyster! Often this story is hilarious, but it's really not funny. I see Duddy as a tragic figure. He consistently abuses the two people (Yvette and Virgil) who are trying the hardest to help him realize his dreams. Ultimately, Duddy has to face the fact that perhaps the only thing legendary about him are the stories that his father Max is already inventing down at Lou's Bagel and Lox Bar.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
A Little bit long to read but it's worth it!!! We definitely want to know what will happen with Duddy Kratvitz.Published 17 months ago by Joannie Charette
Didn't like the novel at all but it worked out well as my textbook for class.Published 19 months ago by Kaylee Verkruisen
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler was on my reading list for school last year. Read morePublished on Oct. 13 2013 by Sam Couture Reviews
A great read, his life is like a monopoly! Read and enjoy this book as it takes you back to a really cool era in Canadian living.Published on Aug. 19 2012 by Virushan
Richler's "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz" is a masterpiece and another one of his classics. It fashions the protagonist, Duddy, as a young Jew who has his mind set on a... Read morePublished on Nov. 3 2011 by Bassim Zantout
Mordecai Richler is certainly one of Canada's best novelists. His caustic sense of humour, his self-deprecating look at life, and his sometimes thinly disguised autobiographical... Read morePublished on Dec 12 2002 by lazza
Some people never learn, this is a story of one of them. Some may find this books a masterpiece, a child of a genious, but in my personal opinion its "rawness", its fake reality... Read morePublished on Oct. 15 2002 by A. Petrov