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Oh Canada! Oh Quebec!

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  215 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
A humorous look at Quebec's movement toward independence from Canada, remarking upon the Draconian language laws imposed on English-speaking Quebecois, the economic problems posed by the movement, and the troubles with blind nationalism.
Paperback, 277 pages
Published 1993 by Penguin (first published 1992)
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May 08, 2012 Vanessa rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Amusing and well-written (and a quick read, as far as 250-page treatises about Quebec politics go), this book will put you in the center of Quebec's pre-referendum political and social climate. My only complaint is that Richler spends a lot of time discussing antisemitism in Quebec, more than I believe is necessary to get the point across. It makes some sense for the context in which this book was published (e.g. the book's postscript is a long-form response to comments received about an except ...more
F. Roberta
Jan 31, 2011 F. Roberta is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Yeah, I know. Late. But I sat through the 1995 referendum with my bags packed, ready to head to Ontario. So, I thought I'd like to read Mr. Richler's cynical take on the whole thing. No fiction usually takes me ages, so...
Emma Annie
Nov 18, 2016 Emma Annie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canada
I admit I bought this after Brexit in an attempt to make myself feel better about the whole divided union mess thing. Throughout the campaign and the early aftermath I was aware of comparisons through Quebec, and came to the conclusion (or perhaps pinned my hopes upon the theory) that the Bank of England's Mark Carney was perhaps the only key player who had considered Brexit a reap possibility due to his being Canadian, and the two close sovereignty referendums in Quebec. This is a fascinating b ...more
Troy Parfitt
Jul 15, 2012 Troy Parfitt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mordecai Richler walks us through a history of Quebecois Nationalism to show us it was born out of xenophobic sentiment and blossomed into a movement that was sweeping, pointless, borderline fascist, and utterly insane. Far from being oppressed by les maudites Anglais, Richler documents how the English minority and newcomers to Quebec were subjected to discriminatory laws at the hands of Francophones. The separatist movement tapped into tribal feelings and did little except disrupt the economy, ...more
David Bales
Nov 15, 2011 David Bales rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
A very funny, interesting, poignant and informative discussion of Quebec's "Separatism" and its roots as it played out circa 1990, when Quebec's PQ leaders wanted "independence" and the Meech Lake Accord which guaranteed Quebec's "special" status in Canada fell through. Great history of the province and of the French in Canada as well as the reasons for their grievances towards English Canada, although Richler is a definite skeptic as to how bad the French-Canadian oppression is or was, having b ...more
Tim Weakley
While I have to admit that this book presents a biased point of view on the issue of the french language and seperation issues, it is not a bias I disagree with for the most part.

Richler is true to form as he gives a personal history of the Quebecois sense of disenfrancisment, combined with an examination of rascism embodied within the spirit of Quebec nationalism. His sarcasm and wit add to the flow of the book, but his ( perhaps justified ) attitudes regarding anti-semitism in Quebec tend to r
Aug 21, 2013 Helen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The situation has changed since the publication of this book but it was interesting to get an overview of the history leading up to the call for referendum in the early 90s. Having studied Quebec history and society at the francophone Universite de Montreal a few years ago, it was interesting to get the Anglophone viewpoint, including some of the anecdotal evidence. As always in these things, there are genuine hurts and concerns on both sides of the linguistic divide. The author also seeks to ad ...more
Julien V
Aw Mordecai... j'ai aimé les anedoctes, ses rencontres avec Levesque et Mulroney, mais son insistence à relier le nationalisme québécois à l'anti-sémitisme est fuckin' fatigant. Dans le fond, rendu au début des années 90, le célèbre écrivain est davantage un pauvre vieux schmuck qui souffrait d'une grande nostalgie des années 50 à Montréal, quand les anglos étaient encore tout-puissants.

Ce livre fut acheté all used up au village des valeurs, just for the lulz, pour le Canada Day 2016.
Jun 07, 2007 Jay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: canada enthusiasts
I found myself vigorously disagreeing with some of the conclusions Richler made in this book. It's good as an introduction to the topic, but it doesn't have much of a structure to keep the reader interested.
Aug 27, 2011 Luke rated it really liked it
Still fresh.
Oct 12, 2012 Margarita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A bit of an outdated read at this point, but certainly a good introductory read to the language issue once you weed through Richler's opinions.
Feb 06, 2012 Lisa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Read as research for my dissertaion on Quebec politics.
Apr 14, 2015 Arf rated it it was amazing
ahh the nineties...good thing all that language fuss is over with
Jul 02, 2009 Emilie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Needed something a little local..and so sick of civil war/rape/traumatic books. Refreshing and Mordecai true to form :)
It's dated, sure, but Richler also provides a history of the political-cultural climate of Quebec. All of which was basically new to me.
Brenda B
Nov 24, 2011 Brenda B rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadiana, politics
This book rally helps to explain a divided nation. Not a lot of sympathy for francophones here though.
Bernard Lee
Bernard Lee rated it it was ok
Jul 01, 2016
M. Milner
M. Milner rated it liked it
Jan 03, 2010
Rahim Jiwani
Rahim Jiwani rated it it was ok
Mar 28, 2011
Lorena rated it really liked it
Feb 26, 2013
Jason Papademos
Jason Papademos rated it liked it
Mar 08, 2013
Jackmccullough rated it liked it
Jul 15, 2009
Morgan rated it it was amazing
Sep 06, 2012
F Philip
F Philip rated it really liked it
Aug 27, 2015
Evan rated it really liked it
Apr 15, 2014
Pstories rated it really liked it
Nov 26, 2015
Rodd rated it did not like it
Apr 09, 2014
Claudia rated it liked it
Jan 06, 2013
Linda Leith
Linda Leith rated it really liked it
Aug 25, 2012
Steve Mccabe
Steve Mccabe rated it liked it
Jan 22, 2009
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Mordecai Richler was a Canadian author, screenwriter and essayist.

His best known works are The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1959) and Barney's Version (1997); his 1989 novel Solomon Gursky Was Here was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 1990. He was also well known for the Jacob Two-Two children's stories. .

The son of a Jewish scrap yard dealer, Richler was born in 1931 and raised on St.
More about Mordecai Richler...

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