Barney's Version

A Novel

Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Barney's Version
Even Barney Penofsky's friends tend to agree that he is a wife-abuser, an intellectual fraud, a purveyor of pap, a violent drunk, and probably a murderer. But when his sworn enemy threatens to publish this calumny, Barney is driven to write his own memoirs, selecting and plagiarizing his life.

Publisher: London : Vintage, 1998
ISBN: 0099939207
Characteristics: 407 p. ; 20 cm.


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Dec 07, 2014
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Barney is an infuriating, loveable curmudgeon who has loved and lost three wives, possibly murdered his best friend and driven himself to drink. Wickedly funny, politically incorrect, Richler has created his most personable and passionate character yet.

Jan 26, 2014
  • StevenJonKaplan rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

In my opinion, this is one of Mordecai Richler's best books, partly because you are encouraged to empathize with a character who has many serious flaws, and partly because the author deals with his own aging self.

Feb 09, 2012
  • jmikesmith rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Presented as a first-person memoir by the title character, Barney Panofsky, this book struck me as a bit uneven. Well-written and entertaining for the most part, the structure and lack of a plot made it slow at times. Barney has written this memoir to rebut claims about him made in an autobiography of a long-time rival and to present his version of his life. Although roughly chronological, there are many digressions to events and episodes throughout his life, and it can be difficult at times to figure out when a particular scene takes place. Two major threads running throughout the book are the fate of Barney's best friend "Boogie", whom Barney was acquitted of murdering, and Barney's longing for his third wife Miriam, who left him for another man and whom Barney still loves. <br><br>

Barney is a hard man to like. He's argumentative, frequently drunk, and deliberately antagonistic to many people in his life, but has a deeply buried good nature that he rarely displays. I found the tales of his early adulthood in Paris among the most engaging. <br<br>

This novel is probably not for everyone, but it is a solid literary accomplishment with a uniquely interesting protagonist with a genuine, original voice.

Feb 01, 2012
  • vwruleschick rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

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.

Jul 16, 2011
  • Lindsaybanfield rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Liked this book, start was slow and hard to follow, perhaps it was Barney's dementia. Richler is a superb writer and the twists of the plot were great. Sometimes the curmugeon aspects were hard to take but once I got past that I enjoyed the book. Looking forward to the movie.

May 06, 2011
  • jbeckber rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I was expecting the same sort of witty banter as Joshua Then and Now, and unfortunately that's pretty much what I got. I guess I wasn't expecting so many of the same elements to be there. I only got half way through this one and had to return it to the library: my fines are already huge due to a book we lost and Barney's Version was a "Fast Lane" book due to the popularity of the movie I guess. Out of principle, I will order it again and finish...

Mar 12, 2011
  • kellymbuck rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is a great novel. The character couldn't be more alive. I loved it.

Jan 04, 2011
  • debwalker rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Film version just released at Christmas 2010. "Mordecai Richler created a terminally vulgar, selfish man-child of a protagonist in the original novel, about the titular curmudgeon who stomps through life racking up many emotional casualties en-route to married bliss, divorce, and Alzheimers."

Dec 08, 2009
  • hunter rated this: 2 stars out of 5.



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