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Solomon Gursky Was Here: Penguin Modern Classics Paperback – Jun 28 2005
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'Acutely provocative ... His most ambitious and most Canadian book.' -- David Bezmozgis
'The wit, depth, and wickedness of this resonant novel suggest a happy synthesis of Dickens, Malcolm Lowry, and Philip Roth ... This is a very fine work.' -- The Times (London)
About the Author
Mordecai Richler (1931-2001) wrote ten novels; numerous screenplays, essays, children's books; and several works of non-fiction. He gained international acclaim with The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, which was later made into a movie. During his career, he was the recipient of dozens of literary awards, including two Governor General's Awards, The Giller Prize, and the Commonwealth Writers Prize. Mordecai Richler was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2001.
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Top Customer Reviews
Ephraim cuts a trickster figure; a Holy man and polyglot who has been self-employed as both thief and forger. In the Arctic, confronted by the Inuit, he calls forth an "eclipse," thus saving his hide and catapulting to the echelon of deity. He establishes a Jewish sect whose offspring sport parkas with Orthodox markings. He learns Latin, and, in one of the book's more bizarre, and irrelevant, sections, gives the business to the instructor's rigidly Christian wife. Glimpses of Ephraim's life come to us via Solomon, which come to us via Moses Berger, a scholarly alcoholic and philanderer who becomes obsessed with Solomon Gursky after he's killed in a plane crash in the North, perhaps because of some mechanical tampering at the hands of his brother, Bernard.
But is Solomon really dead? We're not certain, and the complex, time-skipping narrative, interlaced with snippets of Yiddish, machinations of bootlegging on the Prairies, Inuit myth, Judaism, a palm-greasing scene set against the backdrop of a fishing expedition in northern New Brunswick, references to Carl Jung, descriptions of nineteenth century London, analyses of human greed, perversion, and corruption, and a thousand other subjects, themes, connections, symbols, asides, etc., takes on a sort of mystery element.Read more ›
The plot, what little there is of it, is simply about a writer who is researching the Gursky family for a biography. He stumbles through several life times of strange characters and ragamuffins. The weirder the better and the rogues make for a interesting read.
This book is entertaining, but I was hoping for something more from a master like Richler. I found the combination of immorality and religion a disturbing pair. I strained myself to think that a subplot could be the love of god for his chosen people despite the ne'er-do-well nature of some of the rascals depicted in this book. Still, it was a good read and a picture into the Montreal Jewish culture.
Most recent customer reviews
my alltime favourite book. I read it every 2-3 years and love it every time. Too funnyPublished 7 months ago by Scott Wooder