Book Seventeen: Barney's Version

Barney's Version, Mordecai Richler

Oh man, all I can say is this was a super duper great book. The first 100 pages or so were not so great, perhaps a little difficult to get into, hard to follow, but it was 100% worth it to stick with it and see it through. The confusion comes from the stream of consciousness effect of Barney's ramblings--sometimes he is talking about events from the near past and sometimes they are events from the distant past and even then it jumps around from year to year. Obviously this is deliberate, in fact the whole point of the book, that Barney, even in his own memoir, can't keep events straight, never mind can't remember the word colander or the names of all the seven dwarves. (The funniest part of this exceptionally funny book may be the footnotes, added by Barney's son, to correct all the egregious factual errors.) So should we believe Barney, the most unreliable of unreliable narrators, when he tells us that he did not kill his friend Boogie? It's this question that propels you through the book, through all the ramblings and digressions and sadness and humor.

Also, perhaps you should read this before the movie comes out later this year.


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