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On Snooker Hardcover – Oct 18 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press (Oct. 18 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224061496
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224061490
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 11.2 x 2.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,483,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Renowned novelist and lifelong snooker devotee Mordechai Richler (The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz) presents On Snooker, a study of the game's history, development and major players, as well as a lively and amusing personal narrative. Richler's book covers more than a century: from snooker's 1875 inception, as a pastime for British soldiers in India, to its later naming the word is a corruption of the French word for cadet (neux), which derived from its founders' observation that they were all beginners at the game to the author's own covert teenage snooker obsession and hustling endeavors in Montreal. This sports-history-cum-memoir, part of which will be published in the New Yorker, should delight both Richler fans and game enthusiasts. ( July)
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

The recently deceased Richler (Barney's Version) was an internationally renowned novelist with a lifelong passion for snooker, an offshoot of billiards. This is his personalized general introduction to the game and its best players. In style it reads like an extended magazine piece on the milieu of the mostly British snooker subculture. The highlights are the descriptions of the players, particularly the less savory ones, but overall the book is haphazardly organized and too often heads off on tangents of questionable appeal. This short work is of interest primarily to fans of snooker or of the author's fiction. John Maxymuk, Robeson Lib., Rutgers Univ., Camden, NJ
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Format: Paperback
First off, I LOVE snooker. Have loved it for decades. And truly loved it. It's a beautiful and interesting game. And there was a time when Canada was a force in this game.

And this author, RIchler, a Canadian, and supposed "snooker lover" has written a book based on two things: (1) his snooker playing days in his life, which is fair enough. Although if I want to be truthful it's badly disjointed and badly written for what should be a more talented author; and (2) the lives and professional careers of famous snooker players. Here is where I take issue. The "facts" here are largely heresay if not almost wholly heresay. He doesn't KNOW these players. He just watched a lot of it on TV and put into his book his own version of warmed over stories of which he had no knowledge first hand. He talks and tells the events like he KNOWS. But he was not there.

The one exception to his not having first hand knowledge was when he sat down for a meal with Cliff Thorburn. And he retells the conversation complete with all of Cliff's "ums" in place. Cliff has a verbal tic that sometimes comes out in a conversation. Need this be so cruelly brought to light for those who didn't know it? Is it relevant? Does that have ANYTHING to do with his undeniable snooker talent? I'll tell you exactly what it is. It is nothing short of a blatant personal attack on Canada's most famous player: the 1980 WORLD CHAMPION, a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and a member of the Order of Canada. This best thing that ever happened to snooker in Canada is Cliff Thorburn and this is what Richler does to him? Ridicules a personal affliction? Have some respect. Richler has no call to do that.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a weird book, weird in the sense that two parts of life I always considered separate somehow manifest themselves into this one volume and I found it very hard reconciling my visions of Mordecai Richler as a working class Jewish, smoked meat sandwich eating hustler from St. Urbain Street in Montreal with the waistcoats, bow ties and bottled water that is the professional snooker circuit in Britain.

Richler's book details the origins of the game and the word itself and goes into the lives of some of the characters of the game. Alex Higgins man seemingly wrought on self-destruction, Jimmy White who seems to have done pretty well for himself despite his perennial loser tag, the successful but largely ignored Canadian Cliff Thorburn, the less successful but much more of a cause célèbre in Kirk Stevens. He, however, does not place his loyalty where the drama lies as it seems most fans do, he pins all his hopes on Stephen Hendry winning that one more world championship.

What is more interesting is why Richler is a fan himself. Richler tells us that 'North American literary men in general, and the Jewish writers among them in particular, have always been obsessed by sports. We acquire the enthusiasm as kids and carry it with us into middle age and beyond, adjudging it far more enjoyable than lots of other baggage we still lug around. Arguably we settled for writing, a sissy's game, because we couldn't "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee," pitch a curveball, catch, deke, score a touchdown.'

I want Richler's life. He spent half his year wintering in England living in an apartment in Chelsea (an was hence able to follow the snooker) and the other half in Canada spending his summers on Lake Memphremagog.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A North American View of Snooker Aug. 17 2001
By J. Michael Young - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book will be of intense interest to snooker enthusiasts and should hold some appeal for most billiards players and all Richler fans. A lifelong snooker fanatic, Richler begins with rich anecdotes from his childhood in Montreal, reviews the early history of cue sports, then devotes several chapters to coverage of the British snooker tournament scene, with special attention paid to Stephen Hendry, Alex Higgins, Cliff Thorburn and Kirk Stevens. He concludes with a discussion of sports themes in recent fiction. Some of the quotes and anecdotes will be overly familiar to the devoted snooker follower but entertaining for the more casual reader. Richler's final work is a welcome addition to the recently sparse snooker literature.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A lively first person expose of memorable characters Nov. 10 2001
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In On Snooker, Mordecai Richler here considers his love of the snooker game and his observations of the men and women who share his enthusiasm. Enjoy a blend of autobiography and game insights which examines snooker tables from Canada to Dublin, in a lively first person expose of memorable characters and games.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Chalk up one for Richler!! Oct. 27 2003
By J. Guild - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Richler has given us a great read on snooker. It will be a long time before we see the likes of another as good on this from the viewpoint of a Canadian fan.Snooker has suffered at the hands of the establishment the same fate as Country Music,Comics,Reading and virtually all entertainment media.
Being about the same age as Richler;a lot of my youth was "mis-spent" ,but not regrettably,in the local Snooker Academy.That was where one learned early that "you paid for the lesson but the experience was for free".Richler brought back many menories to me of watching and talking with the greats during the Competitions at the CNE in Toronto in the early 80"s.At that time Alex Higgins was the character that created the fan interest and support.The establishment would just as soon he didn't exist.Perfection and dullness crept in.
Now in an effort to get the fans and money back;we are being fed 9-Ball.What the establishment never learns is that entertainment belongs to the fans;and they will make the choice of what they want and will support.
GIVE IT A PASS July 6 2015
By AJA Bram Janse - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
First off, I LOVE snooker. Have loved it for decades. And truly loved it. It's a beautiful and interesting game. And there was a time when Canada was a force in this game.

And this author, RIchler, a Canadian, and supposed "snooker lover" has written a book based on two things: (1) his snooker playing days in his life, which is fair enough. Although if I want to be truthful it's badly disjointed and badly written for what should be a more talented author; and (2) the lives and professional careers of famous snooker players. Here is where I take issue. The "facts" here are largely heresay if not almost wholly heresay. He doesn't KNOW these players. He just watched a lot of it on TV and put into his book his own version of warmed over stories of which he had no knowledge first hand. He talks and tells the events like he KNOWS. But he was not there.

The one exception to his not having first hand knowledge was when he sat down for a meal with Cliff Thorburn. And he retells the conversation complete with all of Cliff's "ums" in place. Cliff has a verbal tic that sometimes comes out in a conversation. Need this be so cruelly brought to light for those who didn't know it? Is it relevant? Does that have ANYTHING to do with his undeniable snooker talent? I'll tell you exactly what it is. It is nothing short of a blatant personal attack on Canada's most famous player: the 1980 WORLD CHAMPION, a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and a member of the Order of Canada. This best thing that ever happened to snooker in Canada is Cliff Thorburn and this is what Richler does to him? Ridicules a personal affliction? Have some respect. Richler has no call to do that. It's deeply offensive to anyone who respects the game and who respects our best player's achievements in it. It's the lowest common denominator and it's unforgivable. It's pure and simple garbage.

There’s no escaping the fact that IF YOU LOVE SNOOKER you would be OFFENDED by this book. This is absolutely NOT the book you want to own if you want to read about snooker in Canada, or snooker in general. And it's not only Cliff, it is DEEPLY OFFENSIVE to many people. It reads unkind and vindictive to everyone in it and he should never have written it. Certainly he cannot claim he LOVES the game if all he does is badmouth these "so called colourful characters" . And I don't deny that some of these individuals have had issues. Issues that became public. Which is how Richler got the info in the first place. If it didn't make headlines he doesn't know about it. He wasn't there. He wasn't around the world snooker events, on the tour getting to know these people he talks about. He just pretends so. He means it to read like HE WAS IN THE KNOW - but he was not.

Mordaci Richler. We had to study his books in school here in Canada. Some very big works: “the Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz” (made into a movie years ago with Dustin Hoffman). Perhaps he got too old to know better, perhaps he never wrote this at all as it was near the end of his life. Maybe he wrote about himself and someone decided it wouldn't sell (an astute observation) and perhaps someone else wrote the rest of it for him. Either way, he should never have let it be published. And if he really couldn't stop himself, he should have left it at his own personal reminiscences and left alone the lives and careers of people he doesn't know but so easily and maliciously passes judgement on. Those same people to whom he owes a thank you for making the game what became in this country. IF he truly loved the game as he says he does. But he thanks neither them nor the game for that matter. He disrespects all. It's shameful.

And don't for a second let these statements urge you to be so curious you invest in buying the book to check. I bought it when it first came out all those years ago and it's been in my garbage for long time now. Go a library or get it online bootleg. I am sure you can find it. Because if you really love snooker, particularly Canadian snooker, and you find it and read it you will be SORRY if you put any money into Richler's estate or his publisher's pocket for this work.

This is not a book about the LOVE of snooker. This is a book that goes out of it's way to point out everything negative that ever happened and a lot of things that certainly did NOT happen, at least in the way he tells it. It's irresponsible journalism.

If you're a true snooker lover, it deserves neither your time your money. It is nothing. And it deserves no further attention.

If you really want to read a great snooker book - check Jimmy White: Behind the White Ball. A brilliant memoir. Thoroughly entertaining and a storytelling masterpiece from someone who really does know what he's talking about. And interestingly, (but not surprising if you know Jimmy) he doesn't have to trash anyone to get attention. That's money well spent. Buy that instead.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Four Stars June 28 2015
By George - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mostly a rehash of old stories i already knew.


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