John's Reviews > Barney's Version

Barney's Version by Mordecai Richler
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's review
Jul 18, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction

Barney's Version is not an easy book to read on a number of levels. First of all, he's not terribly likable during many parts of the book. Secondly, the writing is dense, like a rich chocolate, so it requires consuming it in small bites. Third, the narrative style is that of an older man telling his "side" of the story but it rambles, is full of tangent paths and is often challenged by his own failing memory.

That said, it's a remarkable book. Barney, while terribly flawed, has some many redeeming qualities, even if they are often overwhelmed by his short temper. He's also wildly funny and has an interest set of friends and enemies that make the story quite engaging.

Broken into 3 sections, each one corresponding to one of Barney's wifes (The first, second and third Mrs. Panofsky) the book covers most of Barney's life including a murder that he may or may not have done.

While it's hard to like Barney it's also difficult to not love him and pity him a little.
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