Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Review: Barney's Version

Barney's VersionBarney's Version by Mordecai Richler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The rambling back and forth narration took a bit of getting used to, but once I got into the rhythm of it I enjoyed the quirky, cranky point-of-view of Barney, who may or may not be a murderer. The novel is presented as the autobiography of Barney Panofsky with footnotes and an afterword by Michael Panofsky. There is a TON of Canadian hockey information in this book as well as several sections about Quebecois secession. There are also random observations about all sorts of other things as well as a definite voice of the author interjecting opinions into the narrative.
"I understand why our most perspicacious men of letters object to the current trend in biography, its mean practitioners reveling in the carve-up of genius. But the truth is, nothing delights me more than a biography of one of the truly great that proves he or she was an absolute shit. I'm a sucker for studies of those who, in the words of that friend of Auden's (not MacNeice, not Isherwood, the other guy) '...travelled a short while toward the sun / And left the vivid air signed with their honor.' But took no prisoners en route, now that the facts are known." (p. 235)
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz was recommended to me by a friend but I haven't been able to find it yet. Duddy Kravitz makes a cameo in this book and I look forward to reading his story.
This book counts toward the Canadian Book Challenge.

1 comment:

  1. This is a personal favourite of mine. I somewhat feel that this is the book Richler was always trying to write and his previous novels, as good as they were, were rough drafts for Barney's Version.


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