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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
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 20 months ago by Virushan

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3.0 out of 5 stars A story of losts with no gains
The story is about Duddy Kravitz and his determination to become a "somebody" by doing whatever it takes. This St. Urban Street boy follows blindly under one value, the only value, he receives from his childhood - a man without land is nobody. Duddy schemes and dreams to acheive his own property, not afraid to exploit others along the way for his own ends...
Published on Nov. 20 1999


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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, Aug. 19 2012
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This review is from: Penguin Modern Classics Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (Paperback)
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars duddy-the little nietzsche boy!, July 18 2004
By 
ganesan s. (Pudukkottai, tamilnadu, south india) - See all my reviews
richler's work is, though spiced with ample dose of humour, is a painful portrayal of the ruthless nature of human ambitions. the young jewish,motherless urchin, duddy has only one goal before him, to emulate 'jerry dingleman'-the boywonder of st.urbain, montreal.duddy takes a materialist interpretation of his zeyda's profound words of wisdom, "a man without land is nobody.' this fires duddy, to embark on scheme after scheme, to pursue his goal of possessing a lake and the land surrounding it. for that he is shameless enough to forge the signature of epileptic friend and to crush the love of yvette, the all-giving french-canadian girl friend. duddy doesn't believe in gew-gentile relationship either, after seeing how his doctor-brother was harrassed and hounded by the gentile circle. he is the jewish-avtar of nietzschen neo-man , one who is devoid of feelings like love and shame. duddy hardly bothers about the fate of ladders which he use to climb. unfortunately,for him, the end is important ; not human relationships, outside his family.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Does End Justify Means?, Nov. 3 2011
By 
Bassim Zantout "b" (Windsor,Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Penguin Modern Classics Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (Paperback)
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 single piece of wisdom, passed on to him by his paternal grandfather, that a "man without land is nobody". This statement constitutes a mantra or a leitmotif throughout the novel. It hardly, therefore, an overstatement if one were to maintain that this grandfatherly wisdom defines Duddy's life. His near obsession with owning a land forces Duddy to resort to underhanded acts that in his mind would bring him nearer to realizing his dream and which they actually do so ultimately.

Some of the things he has done to amass the money to pay for the purchase of the estates were reprehensible but the last act shows to what lows he can stoop just to achieve the dream of his life. Without giving too much away, the last act undoubtedly was not only immoral and illegal, but lacked human sympathy and consideration as well. Duddy is described in a blob at the back of the edition that I own as an "antihero", which in many ways he is. However, I would say that what describes Duddy best is what his father, Max, said in charaterizing his son: "He thrives on adversity". That is exactly what he does.

In my view, the novel carries a parallel, or a sub, narrative. In an indirect way the novel tells the history of the Jewish people. Since they went into the diaspora, many centuries ago, the Jews yearned for a homeland to which they can belong and from which they can derive their identity. In other words, the need to have a geographical space that they would call the fatherland, or motherland, does in a very signifcant way define the history of the Jews. Duddy Kravitz symbolizes that Jewish yearning.

The parallel narrative continues to suggest that the founding fathers of the Jewish homeland in Palestine might have perpetrated wrongful,illegal and immoral acts along the way. The most culpable of those is probably the dispossession of the endogenous Palestinian population. Simcha, or zeyda as he is referred to in the novel, who is Duddy's grandfather represents the Jewish conscience. Despite the fact that he passed on to Duddy the notion that a " man without land is nobody", zeyda never meant that in the acquisition of this land one can have recourse to whatever means regardless of their moral or legal standing.

That is why we see zeyda in a wistful mood at the end of the novel as Duddy takes him, his father and his brother to show them the land that he now owns. Simcha knew about Duddy's reprehensible action which he committed in order to acquire the final portion of the land and he was not happy about that. Zeyda told Duddy that he needed to go back to the car as the latter effusively and enthusiastically showed them the estate.

"The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz" is a captivating read, but I should hasten to add that it lacks the depth and scope of the author's other, but less well known, masterpiece: "Solomon Gursky was Here".
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5.0 out of 5 stars By one of our great Canadian writers, March 6 2002
By 
It was my New Years Resolution to read more "literature" especially by Canadian authors. I am ashamed to say that I have managed to get this far through life without reading anything by this someone who is widely regarded as one of Canada's greatest man of letters.
This is Richler's cautionary tale about the evils of greed and unrestrained ambition. This topic has been explored by a countless other writers but seldom with as much skill as that displayed by Mr. Richler.
The main character is both repugnant and fascinating to watch. I can't recommend this enough.
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4.0 out of 5 stars hilarious... but not funny!, Sept. 26 2001
In a (1970) television interview Richler said that his best writing was the stuff that flowed out from him and did not require too much revision or re-writing. I think that a lot of that sort of "one-take" inspiration must have found its way into this fourth novel of his. As I read it, there was one word that kept recurring in my thoughts... "raw"! I don't think Richler is the type who had much use for a thesaurus in his study, and I say that in praise of his ability as a writer. Everything is just right up front and center with him, nothing embellished or re-written for the sake of eloquence. The result is sometimes brash, often vulgar... but all the while, it is very REAL and necessary to explain the impetuous character of Duddy. Very well written. Great bantering dialogue. Count how many times Richler puts the word "but" at the END of a sentence. It's bizarre.
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. There can only be one thing more miserable than someone who reaches his goals by trampling on others, and that is to find out after all the trampling... that you are no success story after all. In the end, Duddy can't even afford bus fare. He becomes a nobody... with land!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great period story, gutsy, irreverent, self-exposing., Sept. 20 2001
By A Customer
Duddy Kravitz grew up on the wrong side of town to most Montrealers. His neighbourhood was poor, but not abject. It had a marvellous immigrant-village life that the writer transmits to us. "The Apprenticeship..." is hilarious and painfully honest as it portrays the 1940s Montreal Jewish community. You will meet them, warts and all. I first read this as a sensitive teen and I was appalled by what a flawed person Duddy finally grew into. The author is a master of dialect and lucid description. His subsequent books have also been funny, but formulaic. Duddy Kravitz is the apotheosis of Mordecai Richler's talent.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Exilerating Novel, June 30 2000
By 
David Earl Bruhn (Honolulu, HI, USA) - See all my reviews
This book is fast paced, vulgar, funny, and human. The world of Duddy Kravitz--an extraordinary Jewish teenager in Montreal in the 1940's--may sound very far removed from our lives, but very few things I have read have struck me as being so irresistably recognisable as life. It would be to deny yourself an immense pleasure not to read this book. Certain chapters are as classic as things we remember from great 19th century literature.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A landmark work of fiction, June 11 2000
By 
J. Gifford (Las Vegas NV) - See all my reviews
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Duddy Kravitz is a unique hero. He's an industrious young man searching for land, for wealth, really for his own identity. But in his quest he burns the people closest to him. Though he gains what he wants, he loses what is truly most dearest.
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz is quite simply a classic.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A story of losts with no gains, Nov. 20 1999
By A Customer
The story is about Duddy Kravitz and his determination to become a "somebody" by doing whatever it takes. This St. Urban Street boy follows blindly under one value, the only value, he receives from his childhood - a man without land is nobody. Duddy schemes and dreams to acheive his own property, not afraid to exploit others along the way for his own ends. This book portrays the evils of great ambition as Duddy's success is also his downfall in life. His lost of love and other means cost him greater than any money can buy.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Some are better off never having heard of this book.., May 28 1999
By 
I read this book twice.Once in high school,where we "dissected" the book as English teachers do with their students, and the second time as a personal read to get more of a feeling to it. True,it does paint a realistic portrayal of Jewish life in Montreal,and the language isn't that hard except for the occasional yiddish thrown in. Basically, we are rooting for an "anti-hero" throughout the novel, a clumsy suppressed 19 year old. Duddy's character had his flaws as we humans do but there was something about the book which I did not like. Was it the style of the prose or the odd setting..I am not sure which. The only thing which I got out of the book was my likeness for the hilarious character of Friar,the Film director. I have no idea why this book went on to get critical acclaim. Mr.Richler has written much much better books like "The Acrobats" or "Barney's Vision" which I am currently reading. I guess I would recommend the book, if you can't find something better or worthwhile to read...otherwise..leave it alone. It's not worth the effort.
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Penguin Modern Classics Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
Penguin Modern Classics Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler (Paperback - Sept. 30 2005)
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