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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars duddy-the little nietzsche boy!
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...
Published on July 18 2004 by ganesan s.

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2.0 out of 5 stars Some are better off never having heard of this book..
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...
Published on May 28 1999 by khank@rcsn.nb.ca


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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 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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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Memorable and Inspiring for all the wrong reasons, March 11 1999
By A Customer
OK here's the deal. Duddy is not a good guy but the reader loves him because he is a human being and if he turns out sour and crazy it is only becasue those more fortunate than he have taken advantage of him. Duddy responds to the cards that society hands out by playing them as best he can. Richler is an incredible writer. His characters and dialogue have so much richness, so much reality. This is a book about Montreal and all the politics and culture-clash that occur between its upper-class Jews and Gentile and the lower class Jews and Gentiles. The old Jews and the young Jews, the college kids and the working kids. The French canadians and the anglo-phones, etc. There are very few women in this book, but Duddy has a very small field of vision when it comes to women, so the POV is true to the character. I love this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars ..., that's all the band could play..., Jan. 28 1999
By A Customer
I enjoyed this book.

While the first two or three chapters are not really needed in the novel, I found the character of Duddy Kravitz repulsive but strangely satisfying as a character. Cliched my ass. Okay, Max, Jerry Dingleman and Lennie are cliched, but you also get Virgil the epileptic, John Friar the Americommunist filmmaker, Yvette the "Girl Friday" who holds Duddy's land for him, and of course, you have the anti-Semitic Scot Mr. Macpherson. Sure it may sound cliched, but this was written 40 years ago. Cliches have come from this line of writing.
I may be a masochist but it's FUUUN to see Kravitz screw and be screwed. And Richler knows how to write a book. In my opinion, it may be nothing new, but at least it's nothing bad.....
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great period story, gutsy, irreverent, self-exposing., Sept. 19 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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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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3.0 out of 5 stars A story of losts with no gains, Nov. 19 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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3.0 out of 5 stars The language is too stark!, April 5 1999
By A Customer
I am reading this novel in highschool right now, and feel that this novel is quite inappropriate for students my age. Not only is it difficult to read, but the language and actions which occur in this book are unreal. I understand that to some sex makes the world go 'round, but did Richler really need to portray a 19 year old sex starved boy in this novel? I only think it gives males ideas.. Many may have enjoyed this novel, but for me, I have read better!
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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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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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