Barney's Version

Barney's Version

infobox Book |
name = Barney's Version
title_orig =
translator =

image_caption = Cover of a recent American edition
author = Mordecai Richler
cover_artist = John Scully (first edition photograph); Spencer Francey Peters (first edition design)
country = Canada
language = English
series =
genre = Novel
publisher = Knopf Canada (first edition, hardcover); Chatto and Windus (first U.K. edition, hardcover)
release_date = 16 Sept 1997 (Canada); 25 Sept 1997 (U.K.)
media_type = Print (Hardcover)
pages = 417 pages (first edition, hardcover); 424 (first U.K. edition, hardcover)
isbn = ISBN 0-676-97078-8 (first edition, hardcover); 0-7011-6272-4 (first U.K. edition, hardcover)
preceded_by = Jacob Two-Two's First Spy Case
followed_by = Dispatches from the Sporting Life

Barney's Version is a novel written by Canadian author Mordecai Richler, published by Knopf Canada in 1997.

Plot summary

The story is written in the style of an autobiography of Barney Panofsky, and recounts his life varying detail. At the end of the book he is diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, which explains his memory losses (corrected by his son Michael through the use of foot-notes), and his repeatedly reminding himself of the name of the utensil used to strain spaghetti (a colander). Barney may be viewed as an unreliable narrator, in that his recollections go from lucid to ludicrous with his varying mental states, but he is only mistaken about minor things. In the end Barney is right about the most questionable event in the book, that he did not murder Boogie. Mike learns it must have been a water bomber plane that picked up Boogie while he was swimming in the lake while Barney was asleep, and dropped the water on the mountain.


*Barney Panofsky - Main character, anglophone Jew from Montreal, going from struggling friend of artists in Paris to rich TV producer back in Quebec.
*Bernard "Boogie" Moscovitch - Barney's best friend, whom he was judged innocent of murdering.
*Terry McIver - Barney's friend turned sworn enemy. It is McIver's published memoirs that drive Barney to write his versions of events.
*Miriam Greenberg - Barney's third wife, who leaves him for Blair. Barney always hopes that she will come back to him.
*'"The Second Ms. Panofsky" - Barney's second wife, who leaves him at the time of the disappearance of Boogie.
*Clara Charnofsky - Barney's first wife, whom he met in Paris, and whose poetry from their time in Paris become best-selling feminist literature.
*Leo Bishinsky - Barney's friend from Paris, who became a famed artist.
*Cedric Richardson a.k.a. Ismail ben Yussf - Barney's rich, black friend from Paris.
*Morty Herscovitch- Barney's doctor in Montreal.
*Blair Hopper né Hauptman - A draft-dodging American who is taken in by the Panofskys and eventually becomes the partner of Barney's third wife, Miriam.
*Hymie Mintzbaum - A movie producer friend of Barney's.
*Sean O'Hearne - A "Sûreté du Québec" detective, certain Barney is guilty of Boogie's homicide.
*Duddy Kravitz - A character who appeared originally in Richler's "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz", now a wealthy man in his sixties.

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