The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
is the fourth novel by Canadian
author Mordecai Richler
. It was first published in 1959 by André Deutsch
, then adapted to the screen
Plot and setting
The novel is set mostly in Montreal
, during the 1940s. The city is old, dirty, crowded and divided into sections based on ethnicity and religion. There are poor districts, like St. Urbain Street, and there are wealthy districts, like Westmount
. Parts of the story also take place in the Laurentian mountains
, in the resort town of Ste. Agathe and surrounding areas.
The novel focuses on the young life of Duddy Kravitz, a poor Jewish boy raised in Montreal, Quebec. Family, friends, lovers and teachers all contribute to Duddy's burgeoning obsession with power and money — desires embodied in the possession of land. As a child, Duddy learns from his grandfather that "a man without land is nobody," and Duddy comes to believe land ownership to be life's ultimate goal and the means by which a man is made into a somebody.
Duddy begins to move towards this goal by working for his Uncle Benjy. Their relationship is strained: Uncle Benjy, a wealthy clothing manufacturer with socialist sympathies, has always favored Duddy's brother Lennie, who wants to become a doctor. Uncle Benjy takes a dim view of Duddy's commercial ambitions, seeing them as avaricious and crass. During the summer after high school, Duddy takes a job as a waiter at a hotel in Ste. Agathe. He stumbles... Read More