Book 33, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1959) – Mordecai Richler
From a publisher:
“The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz is the novel that established Mordecai Richler as one of the world’s best comic writers. Growing up in the heart of Montreal’s Jewish ghetto, Duddy Kravitz is obsessed with his grandfather’s saying, ‘A man without land is nothing.’ In his relentless pursuit of property and his drive to become a somebody, he will wheel and deal, he will swindle and forge, he will even try making movies. And in spite of the setbacks he suffers, the sacrifices he must make along the way, Duddy never loses faith that his dream is worth the price he must pay. This blistering satire traces the eventful coming-of-age of a cynical dreamer. Amoral, inventive, ruthless, and scheming, Duddy Kravitz is one of the most magnetic anti-heroes in literature, a man who learns the hard way that dreams are never exactly what they seem, even when they do come true.”
I wish I had read this around the same time as I read St. Urbain’s Horseman because the memory of the figure of Duddy Kravitz from that book is a little fuzzy. A very interesting book with a misogynist, greedy protagonist that you can’t help but root for, even as he destroys everyone around him. In real life I’d be signing petitions against development of the lake and I’d think Duddy deserves to go to jail for something, he’s just so inconsiderate and immoral. And yet, and yet, he still has a kernel of conscience and sensitivity (although it may be completely egocentric). Not as full a book as Horseman, but excellent none the less.