Barney's Version

by Mordecai Richler

December 23, 1997 | Hardcover

Barney's Version is rated 4.1429 out of 5 by 21.
Charged with comic energy and a steely disregard for any pieties whatsoever, Barney''s Version is a major Richler novel, the most personal and feeling book of a long and distinguished career.

Told in the first person, it gives us the life (and what a life!) of Barney Panofsky--whose trashy TV company, Totally Useless Productions, has made him a small fortune; whose three wives include a martyred feminist icon, a quintessential JCP (Jewish-Canadian Princess), and the incomparable Miriam, the perfect wife, lover, and mother--alas, now married to another man; who recalls with nostalgia and pain his young manhood in the Paris of the early fifties, and his lifelong passion for wine, women, and the Montreal Canadiens; who either did or didn''t murder his best friend, Boogie, after discovering him in bed with The Second Mrs. Panofsky; whose satirical eye for the idiocies of today''s Quebec separatists (as well as for every other kind of political correctness) manages to offend his entire acquaintanceship (and will soon be offending readers everywhere); and whose memory--though not his bile--is, in his sixty-seventh year, definitely slipping . . .

Format: Hardcover

Published: December 23, 1997

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 067940418X

ISBN - 13: 9780679404187

Found in: Humorous

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant Writing Such brilliant writing from Mordecai Richler. This was my first Richler novel and I was very impressed. A comedic and yet tragic story, Barney is not written to be a sympathetic character and yet I really rooted for him. The honesty was enthralling and the title character is hilariously crass, I was laughing out loud while reading and biting my nails at Barney's downfalls, cheering him on and hoping for the best. I also loved the Canadian history tied in, really brought the story close to home. Just the way it was written , the perspective and the footnotes made it feel very real and had me mesmerized with the story and enthusiastic to go out and read more from the author. I would recommend this to anyone who loves the human story and comedic tragedy.
Date published: 2014-10-02
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Maybe better luck with the next one... This is my first Richler book, I did not enjoy it much as the characters (main and supporting) were not likeable or transferable to myself, the reader. Though I thought the son's editing was an interesting twist on the reading aspect. Though I will check out the movie and see how it represents Mr. Richler's writing - though I will probably check out his book Duddy Kravitz and we will see how that goes.
Date published: 2012-02-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Barney's version brilliant, hilarious portrait of impossible man Mordecai Richler was once considered one of the greatest shining stars of his literary generation. The author, essayist, journalist and screenwriter was known for his controversial opinions on contemporary Canadian politics and culture. He often wrote with biting wit and sharp satire. With the release of his book, "Barney's Version," Richler was called "a novelist at the top of his game," by the Wall Street Journal. MacLean's magazine said the book was "a feast of non-stop storytelling and arguably Richler's funniest book yet." "Barney's Version," is the autobiography of fictional character Barney Panofsky, a flambuoyant, perverted and stubborn Montreal producer who believes no one can get along and that life is completely absurd. He is proven somewhat right when his sworn enemy accuses him of abuse, fraud and murder. The story unfolds with Barney recalling his life, three marriages, and the disappearance of the friend whose murder he is charged with. On the surface Barney is an impossible individual, but his story unfolds to be one of to demonstrate the power of love and family, the frigtening process of aging and one's own death. Barney Panofsky is very much a worthwhile individual not far from you or I. It is a story anyone can relate to and a very good read. The Montreal Gazette referred to it best in saying that "Barney's Version," is, "by turns gripping, hilarious, ridiculous and poignant." The book would become the winner of the Giller Prize, the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour and the Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Best Book. It was also a 2004 Canada Read's selection. Ten years after Mordecai Richler's death, and 13 years after the book's original release, "Barney's Version," is making a comback. A film version will premiere at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. Starring Paul Giamatti, Dustin Hoffman and Minnie Driver, it already has received rave reviews. A preview of that film is available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIu7kLKpZxE
Date published: 2010-09-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best I would give this novel the nod over "Solomon Gursky was here." It deserved the Giller and should have won the Booker also. Barney is a fantastic character: charming, despicable, funny, dour; all rolled into one. His intellectual fraud and selective memory combine for a very enjoyable "memoir." Probes the rationalizations and delusions that we all enact to make ourselves just a little bit better than we really are. Though Barney fails as the "man of the year," this book will be a treasure for generations to come. Meant to be savored and enjoyed like the Romeo y Julieta featured on the cover.
Date published: 2007-04-02
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Quite Unfortunate This could have been a really great book if it hadn't been for the unnecessary masturbation fantasies and the overuse of the word "fuck" in it's various forms. While the characters were engaging and the story continued to draw the reader along, the gratuitous sexual references and the obscene language really ruined what could have been a great work. The writing was clever - I particularly enjoyed that the footnotes and afterword were by a fictitious character in the book. Lots of intelligent whit, unfortunately eclipsed by the pornographic content and the distracting swearing.
Date published: 2006-06-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Still my favourite book I made the mistake of reading Barney's Version before any other Mordecai Richler book (excluding the Jacob Two-Two books). I went back through his body of work and, though it's absolutely incredible, found nothing that could match Barney's Version.
Date published: 2006-06-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Smart Laughter, sadness, anger ... Mordecai tells a gripping story of Barney a real life protagonist that we can relate to. Well written. I'll miss his writing.
Date published: 2004-10-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from You'll laugh, You'll Cry Just short of hysterical, this book delicately satirizes the distinct culture of La Belle Province through the eyes of an aging Anglophone, Barney. As a former Montrealer myself, I couldn't help but exclaim "YES!" with every witty insight Richler uncovers w.r.t. the underlying tensions between the English and French. A definite must read Canadian novel and Richler's best to date.
Date published: 2001-04-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Barney's Version Barney's Version was the very first Richler book I have ever read, and I plan on reading many more by him. From page one you couldn't help but love Barney, a curmudgeon if there ever was one. He is cynical, sometimes nasty, always funny, and unexpectedly tender. The book tells the story of his life from his early days in Paris, to his later days in Montreal. I couldn't wait to get home every day to read this book. Mr. Richler created a character that has so many facets that you feel you're reading the story of a real man. I highly recommend this book to Richler fans, and hope that , if you're never read Richler, you'll start with Barney's Version.
Date published: 2000-11-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic Canadian Literature In Barney's version, Mordecai Richler illustrates the beauty and complexity of a true Canadian novel. Barney Panofsky, the main character, is a text book example of an "anti-hero". When reading this book, you will find yourself sympathizing with Barney and his situation that he has found himself in. The story outlines his relationships with his three wives (an outspoken, promiscuous feminist, an upper class drama queen, and the "down to earth" knock out/perfect mother), and an incident that resulted in the death of his best friend. Great Book!
Date published: 2000-10-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Canadian Literature Although not a "life changing" novel, Barney's Version is an excellent read. The utter lunacy of the novel's main character will make you laugh out loud (and if you're on the train make people stare). Highly recommended.
Date published: 2000-10-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from World Class! It's a shame that some didn't "get it." This is an incredible novel that makes one laugh out loud but also manages to get inside the heart in a deeply moving way. Although it starts off slowly, it soon draws you into its rich trove of stories and characters so that you do not want to put it down. When it ends, you wish mightily it would continue and wonder how many more years will pass before you come across something this good again.
Date published: 2000-09-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from terrific Richler can certainly create a curmudgeonly character, but Barney's cynical wit is irresistable. I found myself chuckling out loud throughout. If you enjoyed Apprenticeship's anti-hero protagonist, you'll likely enjoy this read. Duddy even meanders into minor anecdotes in this one.
Date published: 2000-07-06
Rated 1 out of 5 by from What a drag I don't have much to say about this book, other than it was a slow read and very "out there" with silliness. But hey, that's just me.
Date published: 2000-03-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Barney is funny, annoying, witty, charming, offensive, crass, brilliant, and vulgar. In short, he is the kind of character you wouldn't want to have to deal with closely, but would be fun to know. And above all, you can thank the stars that he exists in Richler's fiction. Barney's Version is a terrific book. Ultimately, it is a mystery, though it achieves its suspense through deft character and plot development rather than any tricky mystery novel devices. It is good writing and a great read.
Date published: 2000-03-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Powerful Narrative Richler's latest contribution to the world of literature serves as yet another reminder why he is one of Canada's best fictional writers (one should, on the other hand, stay away from his non-fiction in the Post or Saturday Night). Barney's Version is the tale of a tragic character, deeply flawed yet highly sympathetic and likeable at lengths. The ending is stilling, and the literary techniques, including multiple modes and POV's, and the "footnotes" by Barney's fictional son, add an element of uniqueness to this book. Barney's life story is told with amazing detail, and the sub-plot of the book lingers throughout: Did Barney kill his best friend? I highly recommend it; almost as good as The Apprenticeship Duddy Kravitz.
Date published: 2000-02-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best book 1999 This is the funniest book that you may ever read. The characters are very well developed and the plot is unique. The fictional autobigraphical style with revisions is very creative and wisely used. I cannot understand why anyone would not like this book. You may not like the characters but you have to admire the story. Absolutely brilliant. The best book that I read this decade (and that is a lot of books). I hope you enjoy it as much.
Date published: 1999-12-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thank You Mordecai How wonderful to spend a few hours with such a witty bunch of characters, especially Barney. The title character is sympathetic even though he has more than a few vices, maybe because of them. It is also nice to recognize the Richler of old (Duddy Kravitz, St. Urbain, et al.) in such a contemporary mode (multiple narrators, almost metafictional play on truth and reality). Highly recommendable.
Date published: 1999-10-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not worth it This Novel was too, ridiculus to continue reading. After getting half way through the novel I just could not take it anymore, it was like listening to an insane man telling his ife story. Don't go near this book.
Date published: 1999-09-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read! Read this one at the cottage and at first had a bit of a hard time getting into it ... but I was quickly compelled to keep reading! It's been many years since I've read Mordecai Richler (Grade 13 Canadian Literature, I think!) but after reading "Barney's Version" and enjoying Richler's great humour, I want more!
Date published: 1999-08-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Barney's Version Richler paints a picture of the what we all are on the inside. A man whose life was affected by all who touched it and affected them in return. Stubborn and set in his ways, Barney Panofsky lived his life the way he sought fit. Cigars, booze and women was his pleasure. Although, he was a man who cared about those he loved. He feared for his friend's life and he continued to believe long after his third wife left him. He loved his children dearly and aroused hope in those who needed it. Right up until the last page, Barney's Version is a wonderful tapestry of Canandian life and experience which Richler weaves with the crispness of a machine, but with a touch of humanity that will touch your heart.
Date published: 1999-06-28

– More About This Product –

Barney's Version

by Mordecai Richler

Format: Hardcover

Published: December 23, 1997

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 067940418X

ISBN - 13: 9780679404187

From the Publisher

Charged with comic energy and a steely disregard for any pieties whatsoever, Barney''s Version is a major Richler novel, the most personal and feeling book of a long and distinguished career.

Told in the first person, it gives us the life (and what a life!) of Barney Panofsky--whose trashy TV company, Totally Useless Productions, has made him a small fortune; whose three wives include a martyred feminist icon, a quintessential JCP (Jewish-Canadian Princess), and the incomparable Miriam, the perfect wife, lover, and mother--alas, now married to another man; who recalls with nostalgia and pain his young manhood in the Paris of the early fifties, and his lifelong passion for wine, women, and the Montreal Canadiens; who either did or didn''t murder his best friend, Boogie, after discovering him in bed with The Second Mrs. Panofsky; whose satirical eye for the idiocies of today''s Quebec separatists (as well as for every other kind of political correctness) manages to offend his entire acquaintanceship (and will soon be offending readers everywhere); and whose memory--though not his bile--is, in his sixty-seventh year, definitely slipping . . .

From the Jacket

Charged with comic energy and a steely disregard for any pieties whatsoever, Barney''s Version is a major Richler novel, the most personal and feeling book of a long and distinguished career.
Told in the first person, it gives us the life (and what a life!) of Barney Panofsky--whose trashy TV company, Totally Useless Productions, has made him a small fortune; whose three wives include a martyred feminist icon, a quintessential JCP (Jewish-Canadian Princess), and the incomparable Miriam, the perfect wife, lover, and mother--alas, now married to another man; who recalls with nostalgia and pain his young manhood in the Paris of the early fifties, and his lifelong passion for wine, women, and the Montreal Canadiens; who either did or didn''t murder his best friend, Boogie, after discovering him in bed with The Second Mrs. Panofsky; whose satirical eye for the idiocies of today''s Quebec separatists (as well as for every other kind of political correctness) manages to offend his entire acquaintanceship (and will soon be offending readers everywhere); and whose memory--though not his bile--is, in his sixty-seventh year, definitely slipping . . .

About the Author

Mordecai Richler was born in Montreal in 1931. Among his most successful novels are The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, St. Urbain''s Horseman, and Solomon Gursky Was Here. He divides his time between Canada (Montreal and Lake Memphre-magog) and London.

Editorial Reviews

"A feast of nonstop storytelling, and arguably Richler''s funniest book yet."—Maclean''s favourite books of 1997

"[A] triumph ... at once hilarious, poignant, satiric and elegiac.... Barney''s 30-year marriage to Miriam, their mutual love, and the two sons and one daughter they produce ... are the novel''s heart and soul... Barney''s Version has an embarrassment of riches ... woven here into a wantonly generous, seamless whole." —The Globe and Mail

"I couldn''t put it down.... There is no other writer among us at the moment who can so deftly deploy pure dialogue to create such rich atmosphere of period and place.... In Barney''s Version, the women are his finest achievement. This is wholly a wonderful novel.... By turns gripping, hilarious, ridiculous and even poignant." —The Montreal Gazette

"A rollicking novel laden with rue, a self- portrait of a creative personality who never found a creative outlet he could respect, a paean to the pleasures and perils of drink, a celebration of ice hockey and tap dancing, a lament for a multicultural Montreal now torn and depressed by Quebeçois separatism and a murder mystery with an uproarious solution." —New Yorker


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