Monday, 08 May 2017 18:23

Mordecai & Me: An Appreciation of a Kind

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Mordecai & Me: An Appreciation of a Kind is the story of one writer's obsession with another. In this "really unauthorized biography," Joel Yanofsky, a veteran Montreal book reviewer, literary journalist and novelist, tracks the elusive legend of Mordecai Richler in the year following his death. This insightful and quirky quest leads Yanofsky to consult-though pester may be more like it-a rabbi, a shrink and a dream analyst.


What starts out as a literary appreciation turns into a literary stalking, propelled as much by envy as admiration, irreverence as affection, confession as critical judgment.

A Montrealer himself and a journalist by trade, Joel Yanofsky has covered the Canadian literary scene, interviewing and reviewing Richler, while taking the measure of the city that he believes was destroyed culturally by the reign of separatist governments. Yanofsky cuts through the recent public adoration, as well as through Richler's own carefully protected persona, to reveal the depth and contradictions hidden beneath.


What Others Are Saying

Joel Yanofsky’s description of his pursuit of (Mordecai) Richler ... is gut-splittingly funny. His exchanges with his own wife, a psychologist, are funnier still, especially when he wakes her up to recount the particulars of his latest dream – one of many – about Richler.... Richler may have been a nasty piece of work, but he understood that great dictum of comedy, “Leave ’em laughing.” If Mordecai didn’t quite accomplish that to your satisfaction, Yanofsky... surely does.

- Sheli Teitelbaum, The Jerusalem Report

Mordecai & Me ... turns out to be extremely well-written – brisk, unfailingly readable, quite funny on occasion, astute in its literary judgments... Yanofsky has accomplished something not all that dissimilar from Richler’s own achievement – he has made himself a literary creation, a character, a personage with ampler dimensions than his former workaday self.

- Philip Marchand, The Toronto Star

Witty, serious, and touching, Mordecai & Me is the biography of an obsession. This book reminds us why Mordecai Richler aroused more complicated reactions than any other Canadian of our time.

- Robert Fulford

As a friend of Mordecai’s for half a century, I approached Joel Yanofsky’s book with some misgivings. But these were quickly dispelled when I started reading and started discovering so many original insights into Mordecai’s life and work. I may have disagreed with a few of them, but I found them fascinating. Enhanced by wide-ranging but relevant digressions about the habits and foibles of many authors, this book is both important and highly enjoyable.

- William Weintraub

More Reviews

Joel & Me - On Joel Yanofsky on Mordecai Richler, Oct 2003 - Montreal Mirror

Mordecai & Me: An Appreciation of a Kind, Nov 2003 - CBC Books - Books and Authors

O Mordecai, Where Art Thou?, Fall and Winter 2003-2004 - The Montreal Review of Books

Mordecai & Me An Appreciation of a Kind by Joel Yanofsky, Nov 2004 - Knowledge Base

Mordecai & Me by Joel Yanofsky, Apr 2006 - Writing Forums