Critical Context

St. Urbain’s Horseman is a more complex novel than Richler’s The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1959) and as a result has been more of a critical than a popular success. Bruce W. Powe has praised that complexity very highly: “For the first time, after Duddy Kravitz, Richler’s writing achieves ambiguity, and on occasion a mad super real quality.” Yet while there was praise for Richler’s refusal to repeat his earlier success, some believed that he had not completely integrated all the elements of his novel. For example, Roger Sale in The New York Review of Books criticized its loose structure: “[Richler] is simply too attracted by his own gaudy attractiveness, and the only limits he allows for are those he defines for himself, not those discovered in a fiction.” Later critics, however, have found a complex design in the novel; Warren Tallman is, perhaps, the best of these critics, and his description of the “symphonic structure” of St. Urbain’s Horseman is particularly enlightening.