"I didn't want the biography to end. Mordecai Richler seemed so vividly alive...From now on, nobody can write about Richler without reading this book." The Globe and Mail
Master of prose and polemics, Mordecai Richler was, for nearly five decades, one of Canada's most compelling writers. Though Richler insisted that his private life was not important to his work, Reinhold Kramer shows that Richler's uneasy Jewishness, his reluctant Canadianness, and his secularism were central to all of his writing.
Based on never-before published material from the Richler archives as well as interviews with family members, friends, and acquaintances, Mordecai Richler: Leaving St Urbain shows how Richler consistently mined his remarkable life for material for his novels. Beginning with the early clashes with his grandfather over Orthodox Judaism, and exposing the reasons behind his life-long quarrel with his mother, Kramer follows Richler as he flees to Ibiza and Paris, where he counted himself as one of the avant-garde who ushered in the 1960s. His successes abroad gave him the opportunity to remain in England and leave novel-writing behind - but he did neither. More than a biography, Mordecai Richler: Leaving St Urbain is the story of a Jewish culture finding its place within a larger stream, a literary culture moving into the colloquial, and a Canada torn between nationalism and cosmopolitanism.