Mordecai Richler Was Here: Selected Writings
Mordecai Richler, like many of the characters he invented, was shaped by the tight, supportive Montreal neighborhood where he grew up. He in turn created an imaginary neighborhood one block over from the real one. Richler lived and breathed these streets even after he left them. He savored their sights, sounds, and smells and then described them in more than two dozen books over a period of some fifty years. The half-dozen streets west of St. Lawrence, between St. Viateur and Laurier, formed the heart of the Jewish working-class district in the 1940s and '50s. Here you could find Wilensky's, where a precocious boy once revealed to his classmates the condom he carried in his back pocket "just in case." There is Jack and Moe's babershop and Schacter's Cigar & Soda, where Richler's father and his friends gathered to listen to the hockey game or play gin rummy. These few streets provided everything--from spiritual guidance to temptations of the flesh and a cast of characters as rough and complicated as the neighborhood they came from, which spring from the pages of his books with an intensity that reader's couldn't ignore. Mordecai Richler Was Here features selections from Richler's most memorable writings, The Apprenticeship of Diddy, Kravitz, Barney's Version, and Joshua Then and Now, among others, along with photographs and illustrations by politcal cartoonist Aislin. It offers an intimate look at the streets that shaped, and were shaped by, one of North America's greatest writers. As Richler himself said, "I do feel forever rooted in Montreal's St. Urbain Street. That was my time, my place, and I have elected myself to get it right."
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