Based on never-before published material from the Richler archives as well as interviews with family members, friends, and acquaintances, Mordecai Richler: Leaving St Urbain shows how Richler consistently mined his remarkable life for material for his novels. Beginning with the early clashes with his grandfather over Orthodox Judaism, and exposing the reasons behind his life-long quarrel with his mother, Kramer follows Richler as he flees to Ibiza and Paris, where he counted himself as one of the avant-garde who ushered in the 1960s. His successes abroad gave him the opportunity to remain in England and leave novel-writing behind - but he did neither. More than a biography, Mordecai Richler: Leaving St Urbain is the story of a Jewish culture finding its place within a larger stream, a literary culture moving into the colloquial, and a Canada torn between nationalism and cosmopolitanism.
Reinhold Kramer is professor of English at Brandon University and the award-winning author, with Tom Mitchell, of Walk Towards the Gallows: The Tragedy of Hilda Blake, Hanged 1899 and Scatology and Civility in the English-Canadian Novel.