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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
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
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.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
For a long long time I wanted to read Duddy.
A million years back I saw the film, and was okay with it. Read more
A Little bit long to read but it's worth it!!! We definitely want to know what will happen with Duddy Kratvitz.Published 23 months ago by Joannie Charette
Didn't like the novel at all but it worked out well as my textbook for class.Published on July 14 2014 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 work is, though spiced with ample dose of humour, is a painful portrayal of the ruthless nature of human ambitions. Read morePublished on July 18 2004 by ganesan s.