Mordecai Richler

Home Sweet Home
  • Home Sweet Home

  • 'Canadians of my generation were conditioned to believe that the world happened elsewhere.'

    So at the tender age of nineteen Mordecai Richler left Canada to live and work in Europe. Now famous on both sides of the Atlantic for his comic novels - from The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz to St Urbain's Horseman, Cocksure and Joshua Then and Now - he writes here of the country which he once again calls Home: the country that indelibly shaped his life and honed his comic gifts.

    He takes us from Toronto bars to the Yellowknife Golf Club (devoid of grass) just below the Arctic Circle, from Winnipeg, capital of Manitoba ('On entering the legislature, one is immediately confronted by two enormous buffalo') and back to that fateful day when the Russians invaded and captured Canada's own national sport - hockey. ('Nothing was ever the same again in Canada. Beer didn't taste as good. The Rockies seemed smaller, the northern lights dimmer.')

    He makes us understand the tensions between French and English Canadians, the controversial (and, so far, failed) separatist movement, the pain and the hilarity of the language war (the day, for example, Montreal police seized a cache not of heroin or cocaine but of 15,000 Dunkin' Donuts bags - because they weren't bilingual).

Mordecai Richler was an acclaimed Canadian novelist and essayist born in Montreal in 1931. He won the Commonwealth Prize, the Paris Review Humour Prize, was twice shortlisted for the Booker Prize for his novels Solomon Gursky Was Here and St. Urbain's Horseman, and was nominated for an Oscar for his screenplay of The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. He died in 2001.