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3.24  ·  Rating details ·  558 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
In the swinging culture of sixties’ London, Canadian Mortimer Griffin is a beleaguered editor adrift in a sea of hypocrisy and deceit. Alone in a world where nobody shares his values but everyone wants the same things, Mortimer must navigate the currents of these changing times. Richler’s eccentric cast of characters include the gorgeous Polly, who conducts her life as tho ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 3rd 2002 by Emblem Editions (first published 1968)
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Daniel Kukwa
Feb 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian-lit
This is the dirtiest, creepiest, most outrageous, most insane, more provocative novel I’ve read in some time. It’s also the most biting, razor-sharp satire I may have EVER read.

Richler takes everything that is cliche about the 1960s and flays it like a freshly-caught salmon. Feminism, capitalism, communism, anti-semitism…ANY “ism” you can think of…it’s all skewered via the egos of some of the most vacuous cast of characters ever assembled. They are uproarious, disgusting, hilarious, insulting…wa
Czarny Pies
Oct 29, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone studying Richler at the graduate level
Recommended to Czarny by: It got a very favourable review in the Globe and Mail when it came out.
This is a foul-spirited and foul-mouthed work from a writer who is normally shows us a very generous spirit and normally keeps his wit well within the bounds of good taste.

There are simply too many excellent books to read in the Richler catalogue to justify spending any time with this inferior effort.
Jan 10, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: canlit, britlit
I absolutely hated this book, and the only thing that kept me from rating it a perfect “0” is the otherwise good reputation of this classic Canadian author. I found the book dated, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, anti-gay, and anti-black as well. What seems to be a 1960s attempt at comedy (and perhaps it succeeded back then), is now simply an unpalatable serving of political uncorrectness.
Sep 21, 2016 rated it did not like it
Yeah it's satire but I wouldn't be surprised if Richler low key believed some of this stuff.
Also just because it's satire doesn't mean it's good and it'll age very quickly.
Dan Lalande
Nov 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Mordecai Richler's defining cynicism at its most distilled. A no-holds-barred satire of the sexual revolution (penned in '67,) wherein a goodhearted WASP tries to keep his head above a teeming sea of self-serving degenerates posing as a progressive society. There are highs of hip sourness that rank with the work of Richler cronie Terry Southern (who obviously influenced) and schoolboy wit lows that play like forced Playboy cartoons.
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes using the extremely outrageous works as satirical humor (Paddy Chayefsky or Mel Brookes). But this doesn't. It could be because most of the characters are flaunting their outrageousness - I think the absurd needs to be accepted as normal for satire to work. It could just be that, having been writtenin the 60s, the satire has passed it's expiration date.
Jack Beaton
Jul 21, 2017 rated it liked it
I felt like I was dropped in the middle of a story and it took a while to catch the rhythm of the story. Funny, odd, neurotic...
Troy Parfitt
Mar 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Mordecai Richler's Cocksure is an amusing and fast-paced satirical novel that challenges – nay, skewers – political correctness; cheers for that. However, though it is a decent read, it doesn't quite come off and isn't as fulfilling as the writer’s previous work, The Incomparable Atuk, a lesser-known gem in Richler’s ground-breaking repertoire. (By the by, the reason Atuk is less known probably has to do with its wonderful political incorrectness. Or, as Richler once said, “Satirical novels are ...more
Feb 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
Not having read "The Acrobats" and "A Choice of Enemies", I would say that this is the weakest of Richler's novels. It almost read as an excercise, a writing assignment that would flesh out some concepts and ideas for future brilliant novels. It is surprising to me that it was published AFTER "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz", as it feels as an early effort, written in the 1950s by an aspiring novelist and published later, after the success of "Duddy". The plot is not fully coherent. Chapter ...more
Aug 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
The Cocksure of the title is Mortimer Griffin. It is an ironic title, since Mortimer is confused, ineffectual, and distressed throughout the novel. It is impossible to believe that someone like Mortimer could be a successful senior editor, and of course he could not; Mortimer is an metaphor, a literary device. He is used to satirize the publishing and indeed the movie and tv industries, of the 1960's. In the first pages he loses his best friend due to an offhand comment that is in reality not ev ...more
Dec 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Wow! That was unlike anything I've ever read before. The first time I've ever read Richler and boy did I pick a doozie. Absolutely nothing like I expected. It's certainly dated and even in the context of satire, some of the language in here wouldn't fly today I suspect. It surely doesn't shy away from shocking the reader and I both cringed and laughed noisily at various points in my read.

I have no doubt some folks would be horribly offended by this book. Others will see the in-your-face satire f
Oct 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Vuoi qualcosa da bere?" chiese Rachel. Mortimer l'attirò a sè sul divano, e le sue mani volarono su per la gonna. Rachel si divincolò ridendo. "Niente paroline dolci e carezzevoli per cominciare" chiese, gli occhi beffardi "come faresti con una ragazza bianca?"
Con una ragazza bianca. Potrebbe mai essere, pensò Mortimer terrorizzato, che la sua preziosa erezione fosse impura, il prodotto non di una molle sessuale, ma di una suggestione politica? Era possibile che il tum-tum-tum non fosse, come
This was something of a misfire, I think.

It got off to a rocky start when I couldn't tell if it was satire or just spectacularly offensive. It became clear that it is intended to be satire, and there were even one or two places where I actually laughed, but on the whole it was handled strangely. It felt a little like all the ingredients were thrown into the pot and then the author just decided that he was done. Like, it's the sixties, stuff is ridiculous, that's my point.

The writing, too, I was
Nov 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: lit-mod
What an odd, strange novel... is it a satire on the 1960s and Hollywood? Is it an alternate reality? The author takes liberalism and the sexual revolution to their extreme limits positing a world where middle school kids read de Sade and act out plays in the nude, sex is the only true form of self expression, War heroes are ridiculed and laughed at for their 'heroism' and the risk of life for others, a publisher commits heinous crimes to guarantee best-sellers. There is a sub-plot of modern Fran ...more
May 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Richler has a unique and simple writing style; similar to Hemingway Richler states the simple and honest truth 100% of the time, I appreciate that writing style. This book, while not his best work, is worth checking out if you a fan of either Canadian fiction, or of a writing style that contains no bullshit... except that which is intentional...
Jun 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Outrageous! And hilarious. Intentionally provocative. A scathing satire of white, liberal guilt; political correctness; socially militant Jews; self-absorbed celebrities; and anything-to-succeed managers. Creepy, obscene, over the top—not one of Richler's great literary works, but a fun house ride of society bashing.

what a strange person!! (@2:30 mark)

which is why i like richler, of course -- he's crusty, weird and oh so smart!

this book is quite a statement on many things and while written in 1968...a lot of the satire could be applied to today's society too. we are a sad lot, aren't we??
Suzanne Thorson
Nov 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was such an eye opener for me when I first read it as a teenager. It was salacious and shocking and what a teenager should read! Mordecai apparently said he wrote this while avoiding the finishing of "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz". I love it even it was meant as a throwaway.
Jul 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: canadiana
Well, that was an interesting book that I am sure I missed more than half of the intended symbolism and cultural references in.

I enjoyed the book. At the end of it I was left thinking, what the heck was that all about? Very interesting characters with interesting, yet rather twisted, lives.
Dec 19, 2014 rated it did not like it
I've actually given up on this book before finishing it; something I seldom do. At the one-third point, it seems like simply a forum for sex talk bordering on vulgarity. If it is redeemed later on, I'd like to know.
Jul 04, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadiana, fiction
Oh the swingin' sixties: all mahogany desks and infidelity.
Jan 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cdn
Oh my god. I wish this novel kept going. Hilarious doesn't do justice to the the dark and caustic humour of Mordecai Richler. What a ridiculously entertaining novel.
Aug 07, 2012 rated it did not like it
If there was a -5, I'd give it. Trashy and probably written to pay the rent.
Oct 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Great early Richler book.
Sep 01, 2015 rated it liked it
It was alright. Not what I expected from Richler.
More often than not I was grossed out and didn't enjoy the overuse of racial slurs.

It you like controversial reads, this is it.
Aug 02, 2010 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
rated it liked it
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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.
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