Mordecai Richler Short Fiction Analysis
George Woodcock says of Mordecai Richler, “The worlds he creates are not autonomous entities re-made each time. Rather, they belong to a fictional continuum that perpetually overlaps the world in which Richler himself lives and feels, thinks and writes.” The reader receives a distinct impression of the primacy of memory over imagination in Richler’s work. Most of his stories and novels deal with the characters and situations of the Montreal ghetto of his early years; the stories in his collection The Street and the scenes of many of the novels examine with compassion and realism the lives of Canadian and immigrant Jews in this restricted and variegated environment. Most of the author’s work functions within this frame of reference, with only an occasional change of focus. A peripheral character in one story comes under more thorough scrutiny in another. Often a new character will be introduced to interact with the established ones. The reader is given a continuity of the values and traditions of the old world as they evolve in the setting of their new Canadian world. There seems to be, then, no clear distinction between the fictional and the autobiographical elements of Richler’s narrative. In fact, The Street, his only episodic collection that can be considered to comprise stories, has been more accurately described as “a lightly fictionalized memoir.”
The importance of Richler’s work, consequently, is the analysis of...
(The entire section is 2408 words.)
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