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The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  5,556 ratings  ·  165 reviews
From Mordecai Richler, one of our greatest satirists, comes one of literature's most delightful characters, Duddy Kravitz -- in a novel that belongs in the pantheon of seminal twentieth century books.
Duddy -- the third generation of a Jewish immigrant family in Montreal -- is combative, amoral, scheming, a liar, and totally hilarious. From his street days tormenting teac
Paperback, 384 pages
Published March 1st 1999 by Gallery Books (first published 1959)
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Duddy Kravitz is a self centered sneak, a thief, a con-artist, a scheister and thoroughly detestable character- but I love him. A Jewish kid growing up in Montreal during world war two, in a motherless family and mostly left to his own devices, Duddy Kravitz is basically a decent human being, deep down inside, somewhere I’m sure there’s a modicum of decency.

Duddy’s grandfather once tells him that ‘a man without land is nobody’, Duddy takes this to heart and when he finds the property of his dre
I threw the book across the room when I finished.
Ben Babcock
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jakey Gee
An entertaining coming-of-age, North American immigrant tale, with a well drawn, lovably roguish, morally wobbly protagonist. I enjoyed it, yet it felt instantly familiar, y'know? Maybe it's the Saul Bellow territory...young man on the make, etc; cast of spivs and strivers; the smell of fried liver. Or even Phillip Roth or Updike. I slip into the same mode. I love them.

It's something that often happens when I read north American novels of the fifties and sixties: everything goes Instagram filte
My favourite thing about Richler is that he expands my practical vocabulary: thanks to him, I can exhort friends to "Be a mensch!", I can call my girlfriend a "shiksa", I can refer to anyone other than myself as "you white people". It's great. And I'm not even Jewish! Another thing that's fun about Richler, which I think is also the reason why his books can be found on my parents' shelves: Canadian-Jewish society seems pretty Easterneuropean. The meddling, the gossiping, the intellectuocultural ...more
In The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, Mordecai Richler tells the tale of Duddy -- a young Jew from a poor, 1940s Montreal St. Urbain Street neighbourhood. Duddy is a complicated character. He has a rough-and-tumble childhood, acts out in school, and becomes a n'er-do-well and sort of gang leader, who few expect to succeed, unlike his 'gifted' older brother, Lennie. Duddy doesn't receive the same love and affection from his father or wealthy uncle that Lennie receives, and only his grandfather, ...more
This is the first of several books by Canadian authors in my formative growing-up years. This is Richler's best known book and was even made into a fairly good movie starring a young Richard Dreyfus. The story tells the tale of Duddy Kravitz, a young jewish boy growing up in Montreal during and after World War 2. The jewish community was the predominant culture in non-french speaking quarters of Montreal and this self-contained quarter of the city had rules and procedures not found anywhere else ...more
This book is fast paced, vulgar, funny, and human. This is a story of ambition run amok - a precocious upstart trying to satiate his obsessive perception of success. Duddy's particular obsession is the phrase that "a man without land is nobody!" with which Richler creates a fascinating (realistic, albeit despicable) character. There were a few redeeming moments, but most of the time I just wanted to strangle Duddy... in fact, my feelings for Duddy alternated between wanting to strangle him and t ...more
L’apprendistato di Duddy Kravitz è ambientato a Montreal ed in particolare nel quartiere ebraico, dove Richler stesso nacque e visse per un certo numero di anni. Protagonista indiscusso della storia è ovviamente Duddy, quindicenne irrequieto, la cui vita l’autore ci da il piacere di seguire per qualche anno. Moderno picaro, Duddy è, come dire, rimasto folgorato da una frase pronunciata dal vecchio nonno: “Un uomo senza la terra non è nessuno”. Da quel momento in poi farà qualsiasi cosa per diven ...more
Carl R.
Well, it turns out I’ve missed out too long on another rightfully-renowned author. I’d never heard of the late (2001) Mordecai Richler or The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz until my Canadian son-in-law gifted me with some north-or-the-border classics the Christmas. I wrote of the first reading on the list recently (October 10) and was not so favorably impressed with Mitchell’s Who Has Seen the Wind. But, ah, Richler is another, as they say, story. You can bet I’ll be back for more.
Kravitz wa
Florin Andrei
It has a cultural meaning to a boy from Montreal. My history professor in CEGEP recommended it and it has been on my to-read list for the past five or six years.

A co-worker saw me reading it at work, an English major, and he remarked that he had studied that. Why, or how, I cannot decipher. It's a good story, humorous and witty, but I could not see anything there that made me think this is a book to study. Maybe from a historical point of view, like, this is th
Per gli amanti di Richler,

Si, mi sono immaginato Duddy Kravitz con le sembianze di Barney Panofsky, lo ammetto (che poi per me puó avere solo la faccia di Larry David, per quanto stimi Giamatti come attore, non c'entrava un fico secco). Peró non dall'inizio, bensí verso la seconda metá del libro. E cioé quando il giovane Duddy era ormai schiavo del sogno (non suo) che va rincorrendo ed al quale sacrifica tutto ció che gli é piú caro. Cioé immaginavo nella mia testa un ragazzo di vent'anni con le
Paul Riches
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz and Me

For a long long time I wanted to read Duddy.

A million years back I saw the film, and was okay with it.

But Duddy still beckoned to me, for literally decades and decades.

So finally I jumped into the life and times of the young Mr. Kravitz and came away with one big huge meh.

The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz was written by late Canadian icon Mordecai Richler and is considered by many to be a classic. Richler never truly admitted, far as I know, that Duddy
Charmaine Tahal
Satirist, Mordecai Richler has fabricated an ambitious, scheming, and absolutely humorous character in his 1959 novel, "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz". Set in Montreal lives a Jewish- Canadian immigrant family. The novel focuses upon Duddy Kravitz, the third generation youth. As a child, Duddy is nothing but trouble and falls into an inescapable crowd that crowns him the title of an Neglected by both his father and uncle, Duddy strives to seek both love and attention from his family. Dudd ...more
Maybe Montreal was a different place in the late 1940s/50s when young Duddy Kravitz was taking on the world. A poor, motherless Jewish boy, he had big dreams; most of all he wanted to fulfill his grandfather's mantra: "a man without land is nothing." In order to do so, he knew no bounds. Nothing would or could stop him in his quest for money and power. In the wake of his brash single-mindedness he leaves the detritus of his actions: the teacher's disabled wife who dies trying to get to the phone ...more
Certainly a lively read. "Duddy Kravitz" seems to some extent a Canadian remake of Budd Schulberg's "What Makes Sammy Run?" Indeed, it's main character, Sammy Glick, is mentioned in this book. Both are stories of the children of Jewish immigrants who go a bit over the top in their drive to succeed.

There is some very good writing here, both detailed descriptions of scenes and some exceptional humor. The bar mitzvah filming episode is priceless. But the people in the story are to a large extent a
Great book. It was really special to read a book set in Montreal. They ate so many smoked meat sandwiches! Also, as a McGill student, it was so interesting to get a perspective of McGill that I hadn't thought about before. I also really enjoyed watching how this boy is shaped by the people and experiences around him. The situations and dialogue are so realistic. They capture the time and place perfectly. Not really an "upper" because of all the shitty things that happen to people or that the cha ...more
Kristen Song
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz: Mordecai Richler Review
By Kristen Song

The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravtiz (1959) by Mordecai Richler tells the tale of Duddy Kravitz, a Jewish-Canadian youth with an unrelenting spirit for success. Duddy Kravitz never forgets what his grandfather told him: “A man without land is nobody”. He prizes this maxim through all of his endeavors to one day own a great property. Mordecai Richler successfully illustrates though “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz” a h
This is one of those "the protagonist is someone you despise but thats the point because the book has something to say" kind of books. Which works in a way, but I assumed it was supposed to be funny? Maybe the page voice in my head just didn't cut it because i found the book almost not funny at all. Pages and pages of conversation about money can be tiresome after a time, and who owns what and who is more valued than who. The cultural perspective is interesting i agree, Jews in Montreal etc, but ...more
I'm not quite sure how I feel about this book. The story progressed quite nicely, with a slow beginning, an exciting middle, and a climactic ending. But the only character in the book who I felt had any real depth was Duddy Kravitz himself. And by depth I mean, an observable and often unpredictable progression in his character. The overall crudeness of the writing, however, especially in Duddy's dialogues did detract from the book's meaning for me.

The rest of the characters were underdeveloped,
Katrina Sark
Duddy took his first regular job in the summer of 1945. He went to work in his uncle Benjy’s dress factory for $16 a week. And there he sat, at the end of a long table, where twelve French-Canadian girls wearing flowered housecoats over their dresses sewed belts in the heat and dust. The belts were passed along to Duddy who turned them right-side-out with a poker and dumped them in a cardboard carton. It was tedious work and Duddy took to reversing the black and red and orange belts in an altoge ...more
Dan Glover
Meh. This was reasonably well written, but it is not a redemptive story. More like a study in lust for money and success - Duddy's idol is money and he will hurt those who care about him in order to succeed. At the same time, however, he also tries to look out for his family. In that sense, Duddy is a complex and therefore realistic character. There's some good in there, beneath and between the layers of selfish jerk. Its not a happy ending despite the fact that Duddy gets his long sought after ...more
Andrew Hecht
I found myself rooting for the Jewish anti-hero Duddy Kravitz despite the fact that he's a swindling low-life self-centered jerk. His ambition is infectious and the multi-generational story of his family, quite heart-warming.
John Tessitore
In The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, Richler writes a bit like Dreiser--plot, if not everything, is the main thing. It is certainly the main attraction here. From the very first pages, Duddy teeters on the brink of bad taste, a bigger crime in a novel than bad intentions. You keep wondering why you don't just cut him loose. But the suspense of Duddy's rise and fall keeps you just close enough, and earns Richler just enough latitude to pull Duddy back, repeatedly, into our good graces. As a re ...more
Dan Schwent
Duddy Kravitz, a Canadian Jew, scrambles to make something of himself. Not bad. I want to see the movie starring Richard Dreyfuss.
I wish Ol' Mordechai hadn't died.
A brilliant satire of multidimensional depth, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz is the kind of novel that makes you chuckle. Or bite your tongue, if you belong to one of the groups that are portrayed in the novel and feel offended. Still, Richler succeeds in illustrating his beloved Montreal by fictionalizing the intricacies of its society.

He satirizes everyone and everything: the St Urbain Street bunch, the Outremont fops, Zionists, Socialists, Freudians, the nouveaux riches, the old-money Sq
Ho letto da qualche parte che Duddy Kravitz probabilmente altro non è che Barney da giovane.
Se fosse così, avendo letto questo romanzo prima de "La versione di Barney" mi sarei convinta e lasciata condizionare dalla vita di Duddy, leggendo quella di Barney.
Non è stato così.
Mi spiego: il punto di contatto c'è. Si parla comunque di due personaggi cinici, cattivi, sinceri nell'ostentazione dei loro peggior difetti. In tutt'e due i romanzi c'è la figura dominante di una donna, che probabilmente ha
This is one of those classics of Canadian literature that I’d been meaning to read since high school 40 years ago, and was always embarrassed to tell anyone that I had not.
Apprenticeship, published in 1959, is set in Montreal and in the Jewish summer resorts of the Laurentian Mountains. We follow Duddy Kravitz as a boy that, if you are a certain age, you might describe as a two-bit punk: he fought, stole from Kresge’s department store and split streetcar tickets so they could be used twice.

Tim Weakley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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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“A boy can be two, three, four potential people, but a man is only one. He murders the others.” 0 likes
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