I omitted Mordecai Richler from 50 Canadians Who Changed the World. Now I am sorry. I realize that I was wrong. At a recent promotional event, someone asked me, “Have you discovered any omissions during this trip across Canada? Anyone you feel you should have included but did not?”
At the time, I said no. Now, I would have to say yes.
Mordecai Richler (1931-2001) is the Canadian writer from whom I learned most about writing narrative. Consider only the way he juggles timelines in St. Urbain’s Horseman, Joshua Then and Now, and Solomon Gursky Was Here.
Richler was a brilliant craftsman. As a novelist, he worked in the great Jewish tradition of Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer, and Philip Roth. But he changed the world by adding a Canadian dimension to that tradition. He changed it, as well, by taking a courageous stand against ethnic nationalism in Quebec, which culminated in his controversial Oh Canada, Oh Quebec.
Somewhere, I have a photo of Mordecai and me sharing a drink at the Palliser Hotel. Above is a recent shot, taken by Sheena, of the Palliser bar and the table where we sat.
When I write a sequel, call it Another 50 Canadians Who Changed the World, I will write first about Mordecai Richler.