Mordecai Richler, the notoriously cantankerous but brilliant Canadian novelist, was celebrated in Montreal today.
Montreal mayor Denis Coderre named Richler a “Montreal citizen of honour.”
Last week Coderre anounced that the Mile-End library in the Plataeu-Mont-Royal borough of the city will be renamed after Richler.
A bandstand in Mont-Royal was to be renovated and renamed the “Mordecai Richler Gazebo,” to honour the 10th anniversary of his passing, but construction was continuously delayed and remains unfinished.
Attempts to rename streets in his honour in 2011 were met with uproar.
Richler was often loathed by Quebec nationalists for his criticism of French language laws, and his allegations of anti-semitism in Quebec.
“Coming from Canada, being a writer and Jewish as well, I have impeccable paranoia credentials” – Mordecai Richler
Richler was born in 1931, in the Mile-End district of Montreal where the library will be renamed.
A disciple of the Lost Generation of writers from the 1920s, he moved to Paris at 19, before returning two years later and then departing for London, England.
Many of his most famed works were published during his time in England.
Novels such as “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz”, “Joshua Then and Now,” and “Barney’s Version” (all of which were adapted into movies) deal with the complexities of Jewish life and strongly emphasize how communities shape a person.
He also wrote the influential “Jacob Two-Two” children’s stories.
He passed away in 2001 at the age of 70 to cancer.
Photo courtesy of CTV News.