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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful & funny, tragic & fun
Written in the form of a memoir of Barney Panofsky, a grumpy old bastard who wanted to be a writer and settled for being rich. Having led a fairly controversial life, and with his arch-rival publishing his memoirs, Barney decides to tell his side of the story. From his disastrous first marriage to a poet who becomes an icon after she commits suicide, alleged murder of his...
Published on Nov. 29 2008 by DN

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tedium
For the most part I found Barney's Version tedious. Very few of the characters captivated me and the self indulgence of the protagonist was boring. However, I am glad I persevered to the end, because the conclusion was, indeed, unique, surprising and gratifying.

There is one definite redeeming feature of the book, and that is the portrayal of a very...
Published on May 15 2011 by Mj Perry


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful & funny, tragic & fun, Nov. 29 2008
By 
This review is from: Barney's Version (Paperback)
Written in the form of a memoir of Barney Panofsky, a grumpy old bastard who wanted to be a writer and settled for being rich. Having led a fairly controversial life, and with his arch-rival publishing his memoirs, Barney decides to tell his side of the story. From his disastrous first marriage to a poet who becomes an icon after she commits suicide, alleged murder of his best friend and ultimate devotion to his third wife and soul mate (Miriam, Miriam) who left him after years of neglect, Barney unapologetically sneers his way through the decades with impressive wit and faulty memory (which are corrected with footnotes by his oldest son). As the book progresses his memory erodes further and the disjointed narrative becomes a poignant inside look at Alzheimer's and dementia. Despite this, Barney's Version is not melodramatic or overly tragic. Instead, it is a sharp, funny and incisive look at a hero in his own epic.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Few books haunt my memory, but this one shall, it's great!, April 5 1999
By 
humor@ix.netcom.com (Omaha, Nebraska (on purpose!)) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Barney's Version (Paperback)
I have been reviewing books for 25 years and I must admit that I can count on both hands the number of books I would recommend as "must reads."
But "Barney's Version", by Mordecai Richler, is definitely one of them.As a reader the same age as Barney, I laughed and cried over this wonderful character, and will love him till the day I die.
Barney is a 68 year old Jewish gentleman who has been married three times, widowed once, divorced twice, though still in love with "Miriam, my heart's desire." He had a gay (in the old meaning) youth gallivanting around Europe, then settled in America where he somehow gets charged with and tried for murder. I am a mystery buff, these chapters alone rate those five stars.
This novel is Barney's version of the dastardly deeds he has commited throughout his lifetime, and he will keep you laughing and crying and loving through the pages and through the years.
A bonus in the book is the contribution of Barney's son, Michael, who finds it necessary to footnote the book, correcting Barney here and there, as Barney's memory isn't as good as it used to be. He can never remember such important issues as the last two of the seven dwarfs, the name of that thing you drain spaghetti in, which of the big bands played "In the Mood" and who was that gorgeous brunette in Lil Abner? (You don't remember? Read the book!)
Just recalling the book tempts me to re-read it. I strongly advise you to buy a copy; don't borrow one, for you will never be able to bring yourself to part with it. Enjoy!
Teresa Bloomingdale humur@ix.netcom.com
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Think I Went To High School With This Guy, Aug. 28 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Barney's Version (Paperback)
First off, if you don't want the murder revealed to you, do not read the review after this one, especially since the reader didn't get it quite right.
I didn't know what to expect from this book and I couldn't put it down. Barney is such a great character as he embodies both the good and evil in all of us. His contant struggle with his own self worth, along with his methods for dealing with it, made me like him or at least understand him even in his worst moments. I finished reading this about three weeks ago and still recall parts of it almost everyday. A great character development that is very funny and sad at the same time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-deserving of praise, Aug. 20 2005
This review is from: Barney's Version (Paperback)
�`The portrayal of Barney, pen overflowing with years of accumulated weaknesses, shortcomings and flaws, is weighted by the man�fs sincere fondness for what was, was lost, and still remains in his world. His words are often offensive, but his actions and failures are so very human that it�fs hard to begrudge an old man crippled by actions he cannot undo.
Barney's politics are less threatening than is the fleeting sense of self that slips from the pages as Barney unsuccessfully clings to his�` memories. His gruff, critical voice in the present is contrasted by the delicate manner with which he describes events that occurred in the past, making apparent their fragile existence and his urgency to record them on paper.
This book came highly recommended but took me a while to get into because I tried to read it in short intervals over a long period of time, a method the format of the book doesn't lend itself to at all. There are a multitude of characters and events that take place�` over a broad span of time, and it's best (like with most novels) to get a good feel for the characters before putting the book down after that first reading.
It was quite frustrating to pick it up again after some time had passed and immediately feel lost in the many distinct, though interrelated stories, being told nearly simultaneously. Yet even that mood was appropriate for the work�fs subject material. After all, Barney�fs Version was written as a memoir written by a man in the�`�` process of losing his very memories.
Richler creates an incredibly complete world: endearing despite malcontented and despondent overtones. It�fs full of regret coupled with hope and a deep sense of attachment to everything that has ever made itself a part of Barney�fs life. Barney�fs Version is funny, sad, and beautifully written. I wish I had read it sooner and plan to read it again.�`
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the most lovable anti-heroes in literature!, Dec 5 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Barney's Version (Paperback)
A carefully constructed, exquisitely detailed character study delivered in the first person, this novel is nearly perfect in every regard. At various parts it will have the reader both laughing and crying (especially at its conclusion!), and not infrequently scrambling to look up faintly recognized literary or film references. The glue of this masterpiece is its central character, Barney Panofsky: an aging, insecure, cynical, and vulgar producer of mediocre television shows and movies whose life has become focused on two obsessions-- his undying love for his ex-wife Mariom, and his equally passionate contempt for his contemporary Terry McIver. There is too much to say that is good about this novel. Despite Barney's often despicable character traits, you will grow to love him (indeed , you will love him BECAUSE OF these faults!). The story is richly detailed and thoroughly entertaining, and the ending is not only heart-breakingly sad, but is also delivered with a very satisfying (and unforseen) twist. There are several previous reviewers who described Barney's frequent tirades as "tiring" and that the subjects of his diatribes were "unworthy" of such scorn. On these points I completely disagree. I found Barney's character to be entirely compelling and ingeniosly composed; someone you will laugh at (repeatedly), puzzle over, identify with, and ultimately grow to love. You will not be disappointed should you choose to read this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A story well worth the struggle, Jan. 3 2007
By 
This review is from: Barney's Version (Paperback)
I found that while Barneys Version was at times difficult to get through, it is well worth the time and effort. It starts off a little slow with the introduction of too many characters and too many stories but soon develops into a great story about not so great mans life. It is not easy to like Barney at first, but as you see more and more of him, you begin to accept him and possibly even like him. This book was exceptionally funny filled with blunt truths and witty remarks. However if your looking for an easy, lighthearted read, then dont look here. Barneys Version is humourous but dark and requires concentration and thought to be able to fully appreciate the complex character that is Barney.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars criminally underrated, May 14 2000
This review is from: Barney's Version (Paperback)
This book should be read. It is so rich, so full of zest, so involving. You'll laugh aloud at the same that you clench your fists. Barney's Version should have won the Booker Prize. If you have not read it you really ought to.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Relate to Barney, it's simple., July 2 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Barney's Version (Paperback)
Downright crude in it's humour, Barney's Version takes a man obsessed with rejuvinating his ex-wife's love for him. Bordering alcoholism, and landing stright in clumsiness, Barney puts his life story on paper in this fictional memoir to discredit accusations made in an old-friend-presently-enemy's own memoir soon to be released. Barney rushes to his own defence, denying such allegations as jealousy, cowardice, conceit, and even murder. It's hard to believe isn't real!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A witty novel full of real-life characters., Sept. 18 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Barney's Version (Paperback)
Mordecai Richler at his best. Witty, cynic, funny. This reminds me of The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz and Joshua Now and Then. For me, a novel that makes you wish evening was here, so you can get back reading it...is always a winner, and this is the case. A very lively description of life in Montréal and Paris in the 50's and 60's. A novel that is not only entertaining but from which you learn a lot.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you Mr. Mordecai Richler, Jan. 9 2002
By 
Eric Pierni (Montreal, Quebec (?)Canada;) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Barney's Version (Paperback)
I strongly disagree with Heather Spearman from Ottawa ON Canada who wrote in a review just above that 'nobody would like the character of Barney after reading this novel.' Quite the contrary; Barney was as real a character as I have ever read...and very enjoyable. I have done or have at least felt inclined to act in many of the same ridiculous ways Barney does.
What makes this book so sad is that Mr. Mordecai Richler is no longer here to write a couple more words. Barney's Version is a classic.
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