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Mordecai: The Life & Times Paperback – July 5, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 800 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Canada (July 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780676979657
  • ISBN-13: 978-0676979657
  • ASIN: 0676979653
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,673,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


A Globe and Mail Best Book

"A fine, intelligent, deeply historicized, compassionate, insightful, fair-minded and above all loving book."
— Adam Gopnik, author of Paris to the Moon and Angels and Ages

“It was a full, rich life, and it’s a full, rich book. . . . We judge a man by his life, a writer by his books. Charles Foran has done a thorough and thoughtful job of the first. Time will do the second.”
— The Walrus
“A massive work that examines this master novelist, wit and public curmudgeon in sympathetic but not uncritical style.”
— The Globe and Mail

“A comprehensive, panoramic portrait that will stand as the definitive Richler biography. . . . Foran is a master storyteller. . . . Ultimately, in Mordecai, Foran reminds us of how Richler managed to make Canadian culture relevant and sexy to the world.”
The Gazette
“The great strength of Mordecai is in the much deeper picture Foran gives of Richler’s relationships. . . . Foran gives a convincing and complex portrait of Richler.”
Winnipeg Free Press
“A massive and enthralling biography.”
National Post
“The definitive biography of Mordecai Richler. . . . So detailed, so exhaustive, so astute and authoritative. . . . This is a portrait of a dedicated artist who raged against the dying of the light. As I finished the book, I found tears rolling down my cheeks.”
Ken McGoogan, National Post
“Easily the most thorough accounting of Richler’s life. . . . An absorbing, sympathetic and often funny account of a fundamentally decent man who worked like a demon at his craft, and who brought the verve and engagement of an essayist to the sometimes aesthetically and tonally narrow world of Canadian literary fiction.”
— Toronto Star

From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

CHARLES FORAN is the author of eight previous books, including the novels Carolan's Farewell and House on Fire, and the award-winning non-fiction work The Last House of Ulster. Born and raised in Toronto, he holds degrees from the University of Toronto and University College Dublin, and has taught at universities in China, Hong Kong and Canada. A former resident of Montreal, where he was a columnist for the Montreal Gazette and reported on Quebec for Saturday Night magazine, he currently resides with his family in Peterborough, Ontario. Of his most recent book, the essay collection Join the Revolution, Comrade, one critic wrote: "Foran takes seriously his role as a writer who's alert and engaged with the world" (Quill & Quire). He has made documentaries for CBC Radio and is a contributing reviewer for the Globe and Mail.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By A. Hooper on November 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
MORDECAI: The Life & Times (reviewed 2013)

Mordecai Richler should be famous. More famous than he is, that is.
His contemporaries were Philip Roth and Joseph Heller and Saul Bellow and John Updike. Canadian author Mordecai Richler was better than any of them.
When he died in 2001 at age 70, he left behind a clutch of brilliant novels and several volumes of pithy essays on subjects guaranteed to outrage the parochial minded.
Which was okay by Mordecai. He disdained insular thinkers – like, for instance, the heavy-breathing French-Canadian nationalists in his native Quebec. Between his more important writing assignments, he took time to denounce the absurdity of that province’s repressive French language laws, which are an offense to anyone who believes in free speech.
Quebec secessionists bristled. They fulminated. They organized boycotts and lynch mobs, culturally speaking.
Richler responded by returning to his typewriter and starting work on his next artistic tour de force.
In “MORDECAI: His Life & Times,” biographer Charles Foran presents Richler in full-throated charge. Warts and all, like they say.
Foran himself is a superb writer – the author of several books including two novels. His “novelization” of Richler’s values and attitudes enriches the biography by humanizing its subject on every page.
Writing was Richler’s life. But he was a man of many parts, and biographer Foran captures them all:
• – Mordecai Richler wrote beautiful sentences. He published 10 novels of dazzling scope and hilarious wit. You won’t find two admirers who rate his novels in exactly the same order. This would be mine:
“Joshua, Then and Now.” “St. Urbain’s Horseman.” “Barney’s Version.” “Solomon Gursky Was Here.” “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz.
Read more ›
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful By readerforlife on June 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Foran's book is IT (according to the Canadian bookseller, Indigo): the definitive, detailed, intimate portrait of Mordecai Richler, the lion of Canadian literature, and the turbulent, changing times that nurtured him. It is also an extraordinary love story that lasted half a century. Adam Gopnik calls it "a fine, intelligent, deeply historicized, compassionate, insightful, fair-minded and above all loving book." Mordecai: The Life and Times was nominated for numerous awards, winning the Charles Taylor Prize for Non-Fiction and the Canadian Jewish Book Award for Biography.
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