Mordecai Richler by M G Vassanji

Extraordinary Canadians: Mordecai Richler

Both Mordecai Richler and M.G. Vassanji are award-winning novelists who regarded themselves as outsiders in their respective societies—one a Jew in Quebec, the other an Indian in Africa who emigrated to Canada. Their experiences were vastly different, but their stance as observer afforded each an acute perspective. Vassanji digs deep into Richler’s Montreal childhood and family history, charting his career from a novice abroad to his rise as one of Canada’s great satirical writers. Richler’s novels—reflecting his double heritage—can be wildly funny, yet they retain a sense of the complex, the historic, and the tragic. As well, he was a prolific and humorous essayist, holding up a mirror to the foibles of our times. Displaying his usual narrative flair, Vassanji explores the life and artistic quest of the Montreal novelist who gave us such unforgettable characters as Duddy Kravitz, Solomon Gursky, and Barney Panofsky—extraordinary Canadians all.