Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz

Richler, Mordecai. The Apprenticeship of Mordecai Richler. New York: Washington Square Press, 1959.

Duddy Kravitz is a third generation Jewish immigrant who reminds me of Kevin Spacey’s character in House of Cards. Although Duddy is only a teenager growing up in 1950s Montreal, he is amoral, scheming, conniving, sly, and even amusing. He goes after what he wants with a corrupt, combative, yet subtle bully air just like a well trained politician. He knows how to hustle for jobs while hustling people at the same time. No one is immune to his charms or betrayals. At the heart of the story Duddy has plans to own land because, in his mind, that is the only way he can be sure he will be Somebody in the end. He’ll steamroll over anybody and everybody to get what he wants. His pride won’t let him be human. In the end, Duddy ultimately becomes Richler’s mouthpiece for topics such as greed, politics, religion and family and you can’t help but admire Duddy’s tenacity no matter how much you hate his moral character. Just like Frank Underwood, he is a begrudgingly likeable villain.

Best lines, “He had a smile that melted the rubber bands in the girls’ panties left, right and center (p 150) and “The higher you climbed up splendid tree-lined streets the thicker the ivy, the more massive the mansions, and the more important the man inside (p 196).

Reason read: Canada Day is celebrated in July.

Author fact: Richler is known for his satire.

Book trivia: Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz was made into a movie in 1974 and starred Richard Dreyfuss. Yup. I could see that.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter “Canadian Fiction” (p 50).

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