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The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  6,482 Ratings  ·  207 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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I threw the book across the room when I finished.
Feb 05, 2011 Helena rated it it was amazing
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
Richler writes about Montreal the way Dickens writes about London: as if the city was a character. He loved Montreal and he is preaching to the choir with me, because I am crazy about my city as well, and I wish I could have seen it at the time "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz" takes place, the post-WWII era when hockey players didn't wear helmets but everyone wore hats. I love getting lost in a story taking place in the city my grandparents knew and lived in. I love descriptions of the stre ...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
May 18, 2015 Gabriele rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Richler, oramai l'abbiamo capito, scrive sempre lo stesso libro. E per fortuna, aggiungerei io.

Non ho idea di cosa renda tanto riconoscibile la sua voce, ma ogni volta che mi trovo a leggere un suo nuovo libro fin dalla prima pagina mi fermo e mi dico: "ecco, questo è proprio il mio amico Mordecai". Deve essere la sua spietata ironia, unita al rendere protagonisti dei suoi libri personaggi fra i più scorretti della letteratura contemporanea. Scorretti, ma sempre capaci di far breccia nei cuori d
Ben Babcock
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Megan Baxter
Sep 15, 2011 Megan Baxter rated it really liked it
This was a reread, slowly, over the last month or so. I am not sure what to say about it. I can't say it's my absolutely favourite Mordecai Richler - Solomon Gursky Was Here is probably that. However, it's certainly up there as an accomplishment, if not exactly a pleasure. Duddy is one of Richler's great anti-heroes, and because he is so thoroughly that, it makes him difficult to write about.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement.
Jakey Gee
May 05, 2013 Jakey Gee rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
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
Nov 29, 2011 Krzysztof rated it really liked it
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
Oct 01, 2016 Corey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful, witty and sharply observed.
Apr 05, 2014 Nick rated it really liked it
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
Carl R.
May 08, 2012 Carl R. rated it really liked it
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
Apr 24, 2008 Mike rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
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
Sep 27, 2011 Jeanne rated it really liked it
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
Florin Andrei
Apr 08, 2014 Florin Andrei rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian
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
Sep 26, 2010 Ben rated it really liked it
Shelves: canada, jewish
Sometimes achieving the American dream requires a Faustian bargain. Brilliantly told story about a poor Jewish lad who is determined to own land and become a success... at any cost. Yes, he's a conniving user of people, but you end up rooting for him too. I would imagine the moral, emotional and financial struggles he experiences are a fair representation of what many entrepreneurs go through.

Highly recommended!
Jun 07, 2016 Neil rated it really liked it
My first Mordecai Richler read but certainly not my last. Really snappy prose and dialogue, and a very enthralling plot. Despite being written nearly 60 years ago, the character of Duddy Kravitz feels like he would fit right into a modern prestige dramas on HBO, and his whole arc is very satisfying. Really interesting to get some historical takes on what Montreal was like in the early 50s as well.
Andrew Hecht
Apr 26, 2010 Andrew Hecht rated it really liked it
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.
Dan Schwent
Duddy Kravitz, a Canadian Jew, scrambles to make something of himself. Not bad. I want to see the movie starring Richard Dreyfuss.
Jul 04, 2007 Jordan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, canadiana
I wish Ol' Mordechai hadn't died.
Aug 15, 2010 Parksy rated it really liked it
Very quick read - enjoyed it very much. It captured me, and despite being somewhat of an anti-hero, I still was pulling for Duddy!

The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz is a novel about costs. How much will Duddy sacrifice to get what he wants? "Born with a rusty spoon in his mouth," Duddy is a hustler and a schemer, scrambling to acquire the idyllic lakefront property he thinks will raise him out of the Jewish ghetto of post-war Montreal, where "the boys grew up dirty
Nov 20, 2016 Aaron rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jewish-lit, canada
This book was less good than I expected. It just lacked crispness in both the writing and the ideas. I appreciated some of the historical fictionalization of old Jewish/Yiddish Montreal --- a world that has in many respects shrunken. However, I liked the story and the writing less.
Stacy LeVine
May 04, 2017 Stacy LeVine rated it it was amazing
Hooray for the gold standard of Canadian Jewish literature!

Don't bother with the film. And don't even get me started on the musical.
Murray Fallis
May 09, 2017 Murray Fallis rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. Spent four years of my life in Montreal and couldn't help but relate. What an epic!
I was more disappointed in this book than I expected. It followed an ambitious Jewish boy from high school through adulthood, and it went through disappointments and dreams.
My own problems with this book: I found few redeeming qualities in the main character; the only character with whom I felt I could relate was not covered well enough for me to actually relate with her; I wasn't sure what the overall goal of the book was. I liked the girlfriend, but it wasn't a book about her, it was a book ab
Kristen Song
Jan 09, 2015 Kristen Song rated it really liked it
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
Charmaine Tahal
Jun 12, 2015 Charmaine Tahal rated it liked it
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
Paul Riches
Sep 22, 2015 Paul Riches rated it liked it
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
Avital Romoff
Sep 24, 2011 Avital Romoff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In a classic modern teenage world one would likely find the “Social Climbers” and the “Mark frenzied students”. But, to be already a “Successful land owner” by the time your nineteen is only a feat the magnificently complicated Duddy Kravitz could achieve. Even as a young boy Duddy was hearing the words “A man without land is nobody” from his wise grandfather. And he, unlike any other teenager (who would probably have replied with a sarcastic “Alright, I understand, ok.” And then a mere two minu ...more
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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.” 4 likes
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