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Joshua Then and Now

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  946 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
Through a suspenseful pattern of dramatic flashbacks the shattered life of Joshua Shapiro is reassembled. Now middle-aged, Joshua has overcome his inauspicious beginnings in Montreal's Jewish ghetto to become a celebrated television writer, yet he is an unhappy man. Incapacitated by a freak accident, anguished by the disappearance of his wife, Joshua is beleaguered by the ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published July 1st 1991 by Penguin Books (first published 1980)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Apr 07, 2015 Vanessa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, montreal
Reading this reminded me of Brook, because it's is the sort of book I'd have handed him when I was through with it and said "here, you'll enjoy this far more than me". It is what I'd qualify a "guy's story" - a tale of a man looking back at his past and coming to terms with his aging, passing through reunions of old school friends and memories of fantastical sexual encounters to reach the eventual realization that the past is gone and life just keeps moving on.

Not that such themes can't be appli
Suzanne Thorson
Nov 11, 2015 Suzanne Thorson rated it it was amazing
My favorite book that I have read at least a 1/2 dozen times but probably more. I love the device of jumping back and forth in time. I love the main character who I can't help but think is Mordecai himself and all the follies that Joshua endures. Hard to compare but only "To Kill a Mockingbird" is above this book in my estimation but they are such disparate books that perhaps they are each at the top of their respective genres
May 17, 2010 Leigh-ann rated it really liked it
I thought this was a much easier read than "Soloman Gursky", but at the same time, I didn't find it quite as rewarding. Still loved all the Canadian history that Richler effortlessly tosses in, and I was pleased with the ending.
Oct 08, 2016 Avery rated it it was amazing
It has some of my very favorite allusions to love.
In many ways it is my ideal of a romantic story.
Troy Parfitt
Feb 03, 2012 Troy Parfitt rated it it was amazing
Joshua Then And Now is a compelling novel penned by Canada’s most intriguing writer. Joshua now is in hospital with broken limbs and a battered visage. Journalists are snooping around his house looking for tips. Joshua is a local writer, a celebrity of sorts, and there is rumour he has done something illegal, has had a split with his wife, and has been involved in a homosexual affair. Scandal is in the air. His father, Reuben, a former prize fighter, keeps the reporters at bay; he doesn’t seem ...more
Jul 08, 2013 Terry rated it really liked it
'Joshua' was written about mid-way in Richler's career. It is one of his better books, unfortunately it is usually forgotten in favor of other 'big' books written before and after. The big three in Richler's opus, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, St. Urbain's Horseman, and Solomon Gursky Was Here, should be a big four, with Joshua Then And Now.

Joshua Then And Now opens with Joshua having suffered a serious injury. We are not told how or what. Almost immediately the book begins to jump back
Carl R.
May 09, 2012 Carl R. rated it liked it
I’m going to cop out here and quote the book jacket because it’s perhaps the best one I’ve read:
Joshua Then and Now is about Joshua Shapiro today, and the Joshua who was, about being middle aged and being young, about being the parent and being the child. About Then and Now--and therefore set both in the Montreal of today’s [1980] ultra Separatists and in the smug class-and-race-ridden Canada of yesterday. As well as in London, in Paris, in Ibiza, in Hollywood.” [Not credited] Richler’s wit and
Nov 24, 2015 Gabriele rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alzi la mano chi non ha mai letto "La versione di Barney". Bravi, ora andate pure a vergognarvi in un angolino. Per tutti gli altri, "Joshua allora e oggi" è l’ultima pubblicazione italiana (il libro è datato 1980, ma da noi arriva con un po’ di ritardo) del canadese Mordecai Richler, autore che i più – se non tutti – conosceranno proprio grazie a "La versione di Barney", libro stra-letto e da cui è stato tratto anche l’omonimo film con Dustin Hoffman (così così a mio parere, ma pare sia stato a ...more
Feb 14, 2014 Marco rated it really liked it
A book that with decimals I would estimate 3.6 so: 4 stars.
The atmosphere and the story written by Richler is one the best among his books, even if the main character, Joshua Shapiro, is not as nice as Barney Panofsky, the story is not an epic like that of Solomon Gursky and the environment is not so well narrated how the advetures in St. Urbain Street.
There are also some highly unlikely events such as Joshua's wish to come back in Ibiza to restore things. But who would do it after 25 years in r
May 19, 2010 Surreysmum rated it liked it
Shelves: canlit, 1983
[These notes were made in 1983:]. Richler gives us a jigsaw-puzzle - bits of a man's life out of time-sequence, but identifiable because of certain themes or circumstances, all eventually accumulating into the answer for the problem posed by the beginning (which is, of course, the end of the story): who and what is this man, apparently homosexual (but only apparently), apparently a recluse, apparently guarded by some very strange characters indeed. One of the answers is that he's a writer, and ...more
Simone Subliminalpop
Prima di Barney Panofsky, diciassette anni prima, c’è stato Joshua Shapiro. Un altro protagonista scritto con sapiente maestria da Mordecai Richler e un romanzo che se non è perfetto come il suo più famoso, comunque mette in scena la tragicommedia umana sapendo cogliere quando è il momento di far ridere, riflettere o piangere il lettore.
Una storia ricca di tanti personaggi e tante situazioni che continua a spostarsi sia sulla linea temporale, partendo dall’infanzia molto particolare di Joshua, s
May 24, 2015 Stacy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read much Richler and after finishing this one, I feel like I need to take a shower. I read it because I had just been to his old neighbourhood and all the references to those places and places I knew growing up made it interesting. However, following his convoluted plot was a bit difficult, primarily because he included the history of the world, from the Bible to Separatism. When authors do that, I get the feeling that they want to show us how much they know - and I don't care how ...more
Apr 28, 2009 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is even better than Duddy Kravitz, in my opinion. The whole book is scattered episodes from the life of Joshua, a man whose life has been a real Odyssey from a lower class childhood to fame and wealth as an adult. The scenes carefully reveal more and more information about Joshua's life, from the time his mom performed an exotic dance at his childhood birthday party to the time his wife was committed in a mental hospital. Joshua is an eccentric but believable character, whose story is ...more
Sep 23, 2011 Will rated it really liked it
I just reread this after some 20 years. It's good - well, excellent really - but not as good as Barney’s Version. In fact you can see all the themes and character styles forming here, right down to the same complexity of time shifts that BV has. As in virtually all of Richler's novels, it's from Montreal to Europe and London, between the 30's and the present (well, the 70's - that still feels like the present to me). I think the reason it is not as good as Barney is that it is too ...more
Gal Shadeck
May 29, 2013 Gal Shadeck rated it did not like it
Shelves: misc
My acquaintance with Richler consists of reading this book (unfinished) and watching the film based on "Barney's version" (also unfinished, despite the presence of Paul Giamatti, one of my all-time favorite actors). These two attempts led me to believe that Richler could be very interesting for someone who cares deeply about Jewish community of Montreal and its relations with Montreal's gentiles, while absolutely boring for everyone else. As i belong to the latter category, Richler is not my ...more
Jan 18, 2012 Caleigh rated it it was ok
Shelves: own, trade-paper
There was just WAY too much going on in this book. Too many characters (all Jewish men of similar age, description and name - just to ensure optimal confusion), too many time periods, too many sub-plots. I'd have to read this book a couple of times to make sense of it, and I didn't enjoy it enough to try.
May 12, 2016 Alex rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed that book. It had me laughing out loud many times, other times shaking my head at Joshua's temper or course of action. There were so many threads in there, but they all entwine in a gorgeous mess that is a pleasure to get entangled in. Great dialogue, vivid characters, rich settings colored by a wide cast. Read it!
Ayelet Waldman
Once again I picked up a Richler for research purposes only to find myself absolutely enamored. I have one quibble, however. Why are men of this generation so damn obsessed with sex? Is it because they got so little of it when they were young?
Jan 02, 2011 Niki rated it it was ok
This is a book that I struggled to not be offended by. That being said, the characters were strongly drawn & were interesting, but I didn't come away with the sensation that I had read something that shaped something in me.
Daniel Kukwa
Jan 18, 2011 Daniel Kukwa rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian-lit
A surprisingly jet-setting novel on the part of Mr. Richler...but he gives it the same humour, gravitas and attention to detail as he does to his well-worn, Montreal-centred tales. This one comes highly recommended.
Apr 30, 2016 Linda rated it it was amazing
The way the story unfolds is brilliant. The story also prompted me to learn more about the Spanish Civil War. Great story, lots of humour.
Hilarious story about the Jewish people in Canada. I listened to it while driving and at times I almost had to pull to the side of the road because I was laughing so hard
Nov 22, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it
Amazing, as always. Like a fairly tale for grownups, that just happens to lack the more typical 'magic', and that has some fun, if crude, laughs, to boot!
Rodylyn Rose
I registered a book at!
Tyler rated it it was amazing
Jul 26, 2014
Kalexander rated it it was amazing
Apr 10, 2012
Jordan rated it liked it
Mar 17, 2011
Chapter Three
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Nov 19, 2012
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May 26, 2012
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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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