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The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  7,047 Ratings  ·  233 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.
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
Feb 05, 2011 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
Jun 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadesi
“Duddy Kravitz era un ragazzo di quindici anni, piccolo di statura, con le spalle strette e il viso affilato. Gli occhi neri erano cerchiati di occhiaie scure e le guance pallide e ossute erano coperte di graffi, dato che si radeva due volte al giorno per stimolare la crescita della barba". .
Il primo libro che ho letto di Richler è stato “La versione di Barney” e l’ho adorato. Leggendo del giovane Duddy ritrovo il seme di quel Barney che poi crescerà. Ironico, pieno di energia, pronto a tutto,
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadese
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.
Maud Lemieux
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Gros coup de coeur. Quelle histoire! Le pauvre Duddy, né pour un ptit pain dans une famille peu éduquée et peu fortunée, décidé de changer son destin. L'ambition, la mégalomanie, l'espoir incarnés par Duddy sont menés d'une main de maître par Richler pour dépeindre une époque, une condition sociale, et critiquer le milieu juif montréalais. Richler est définitivement un auteur que je vais continuer à lire!
Megan Baxter
Sep 15, 2011 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.
Jake Goretzki
May 05, 2013 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
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
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A man without land indeed,
Nov 29, 2011 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
Sep 26, 2010 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 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.
Dan Schwent
Duddy Kravitz, a Canadian Jew, scrambles to make something of himself. Not bad. I want to see the movie starring Richard Dreyfuss.
Oct 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful, witty and sharply observed.
Jan 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: québécois
Décidément, lemonsieur sait écrire.
Quel univers que ce monde juif de Montréald'après-guerre.
Et quels personnages que ces Duddy, Lenny, Max le père, Simcha le grand-père. Tous ces rêveurs obnubilés par la réussite, la création d,un monde meilleur et qui semblent s'évertuer à ne pas y parvenir. En ce sens, je songeais à Bonheur d'occasion de Gabrielle Roy.
Les personnages de femmes par contre, bien de leur époque, montrentle chemin parcouru depuis et paradoxalement, tout le chemin qui ne l'a pas ét
Apr 05, 2014 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
Shawn Mooney
Jun 05, 2017 marked it as did-not-finish
Mordecai Richler was a giant of Canadian lit, some people said. Most people also said he was a complete and utter asshole. A few chapters in on audio, those asshole vibes were starting to gather force in the story, so I read the plot summary on Wikipedia and decided to bail. This is a Canadian classic I do not need to read. Maybe a Canadian writer I can skip, too, although I hear his Barney's Version is good.
Alison Quigley
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It’s not what you achieve but how you achieve it...salutory ending. If the start feels difficult, please persevere. It takes flight about page one hundred and the altitude keeps climbing. For writers there is a terrific lesson here in how to keep a reader entranced when the main character is morally dubious.
Dani (The Pluviophile Writer)
A boy can be two, three, four potential people, but a man is only one. He murders the others.”
4/5 stars.
Read from January 23, 2018 to February 4, 2018.

Review at The Pluviophile Writer:

A Canadian classic; there are not many books that embody a French-Canadian setting and receive as much praise and success as this one did, especially with a protagonist as despicable as Duddy.

Saying that Duddy Kravitz is ambitious is an understatement.  After taking to heart what his g
Caleb Hoyer
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
It’s shocking to me that this novel was published in 1959. It feels just as unflinching and edgy as something that would be published today. The main character is about as “anti-” as a hero gets, and yet I couldn’t help but root for him to get his land and become a somebody. His questionable tactics and actions don’t go unchallenged by the author or the other characters, but it never veers into a preachy moral fable. It’s messy and hilarious, but you can’t help but admire Duddy’s tenacity and – ...more
Carl R.
May 08, 2012 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
Valeria Nicoletti
Se avessi conosciuto Mordecai Richler con questo libro, mi sarei fermata sicuramente qui.
E invece, memore de La Versione di Barney, dei suoi guizzi di spirito, l'ironia arguta, i bellissimi personaggi, ho intrapreso con entusiasmo la lettura di questo apprendistato ma Duddy non è Barney e il libro risulta smorto, quasi senza intrigo e un po' noioso. La traduzione inoltre non convince.
Stefania T.
Oct 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
《Tu sei due persone insieme. Il piccolo bastardo calcolatore che non facevo fatica a vedere io e, al di sotto, il bravo ragazzo intelligente che vedeva tuo nonno, Dio lo benedica. Ma fra poco diventerai maggiorenne e dovrai scegliere. Un ragazzo può essere due, tre, quattro persone potenziali, ma un uomo una sola: quella che ha ucciso le altre.》

Questa frase è stata una cannonata. Arriva agli sgoccioli del romanzo, quando mi stavo ormai godendo la lettura in modo rilassato e contento, spaparanzat
Jul 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: storia-di-uno
E' un libro giovanile di Richler e un po' lo si capisce. Inizia in maniera quasi "tradizionale", raccontando l'adolescenza di Duddy scapestrato con un occhio benevolente e divertito, ma via via che si scorrono i capitoli ne emerge un nervosismo e una tensione quasi dolorosi. L'ansia del farsi strada nella vita, la furia del combattere il pregiudizio sugli ebrei, la velocità con cui si dipanano gli eventi. Duddy sgomita e impazzisce, ha una capacità di mettere in piedi truffe e raggiri quasi scon ...more
Jun 01, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Apr 24, 2008 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
Apr 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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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.” 5 likes
More quotes…