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Barney's Version (1997)

de Mordecai Richler

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

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1,638368,224 (4.04)85
Barney Panofsky smokes too many cigars, drinks too much whiskey, and is obsessed with two things: the Montreal Canadiens hockey team and his ex-wife Miriam. An acquaintance from his youthful years in Paris, Terry McIver, is about to publish his autobiography. In its pages he accuses Barney of an assortment of sins, including murder. It's time, Barney decides, to present the world with his own version of events. Barney's Version is his memoir, a rambling, digressive rant, full of revisions and factual errors (corrected in footnotes written by his son) and enough insults for everyone, particularly vegetarians and Quebec separatists. But Barney does get around to telling his life story, a desperately funny but sad series of bungled relationships. His first wife, an artist and poet, commits suicide and becomes--a la Sylvia Plath--a feminist icon, and Barney is widely reviled for goading her toward death, if not actually murdering her. He marries the second Mrs. Panofsky, whom he calls a "Jewish-Canadian Princess," as an antidote to the first; it turns out to be a horrible mistake. The third, "Miriam, my heart's desire," is quite possibly his soul mate, but Barney botches this one, too. It's painful to watch him ruin everything, and even more painful to bear witness to his deteriorating memory. The mystery at the heart of Barney's story--did he or did he not kill his friend Boogie?… (mais)
  1. 02
    O Apanhador no Campo de Centeio de J. D. Salinger (UrliMancati)
    UrliMancati: It has been said that Barney is Holden at the end of his life. While the twos do not have so much in common, the reader will definitively love both characters.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 36 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Richler layers on enough historical and cultural references (including Duddy Kravitz and St. Urbain Street) within the first five pages that his novel starts requiring footnotes. Actually, the footnotes are there by design, added by a fictional editor of this fictional memoir by a fictional character named Barney Panofsky, who is out to redeem his reputation in his twilight years after a long-time acquaintance slanders him in another autobiography.

Barney's memory is beginning to suffer, demonstrated as he stumbles a bit to recollect certain trivia while rambling all over his personal timeline through the early chapters. Eventually he settles down to follow something more chronological, interspersed with notes from his present, and the narrative becomes easier to follow through its three parts delineated by his marriages. Barney's dry, sarcastic wit does him service and lends some rich humour, though he also succumbs to lashing out in anger as he knows how to hold (and act upon) a grudge.

Barney's background is Jewish Quebecois (just like Richler's own), but many of his reflections are universal: the too swift passage of time, the unremitting memories, the odd ways in which people can come and go from one's life. Regrets and honest self-assessments mount. There is no clear takeaway at the end this story, not even in the epilogue, which is perhaps the best verisimilitude of all. Even if it was sometimes absurd, Barney's was not so bad as lives go, and it feels like ending enough. ( )
  Cecrow | Nov 10, 2020 |
Barney Panofsky is a fictional character but from what I have read of the author's persona and life he is largely drawn from Richler's own experiences. This book was the last one Richler completed before his death and it is a fitting tribute to his career I think. Of course, I haven't read any of the other books Richler wrote but I do still remember the film made from The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz which I thought was equal parts hilarious and disturbing. (Duddy Kravitz makes a few cameo appearances in this book.)

Barney is in his 60s living on his own since his third wife left him but still continuing to direct his TV production company, drinking at the bar and at home, and smoking cigars at all hours. He has learned that an old compatriot, Terry McIvor, is publishing an autobiography which will paint Barney in a very bad light and so he has decided to write his own autobiography which will contain his version of events. Barney divides the book into three parts named for his three wives (Clara, the Second Mrs. Panofsky and Miriam) but don't expect a straightfoward narrative from Barney. He does eventually get to the point but it is a long and winding, albeit fascinating, road. We do eventually learn that his first wife Clara was someone he met while living in Paris and that she committed suicide very young. Barney returned to Montreal determined to make more of his life and that meant finding another woman to marry. At his wedding reception to the Second Mrs. Panofsky he met Miriam and fell instantly in love. In case you think this is artistic license this same scenario played out between Richler and his second wife. His second marriage ended when he found his wife in bed with his close friend at the cottage he owned in the Laurentians. Barney was secretly glad to have a reason to divorce his wife so that he could woo Miriam but when his friend never returned to the cottage after going for a swim in the lake Barney was charged with his murder. Barney swore to the end that he did not kill the man but are we to believe Barney who has proven to be an unreliable narrator about events both big and small. Although the police could find no body nor any blood they charged him with murder. Barney was acquitted by a jury but most people believe he got away with murder. Miriam, however, did believe him and they did get married, have children and live together quite happily. And then Barney committed one mistake that Miriam could not forgive so she left him and married a younger man. Barney continues to be devastated about losing Miriam and thinks they will eventually reconcile. He also thinks his friend will show up out of the blue proving that he was innocent all along. As Barney continues to pen this autobiography it becomes clear that he is having memory problems and very quickly he deteriorates until he has been put into a personal care home. The book is corrected for errors by his son who also adds an Afterword which sheds some more light on Barney Panofsky, the man, the husband and the father.

Although I felt like I should abhor this character I actually grew to love Barney Panofsky. I'm sure he would have been horrendous to live with but life would not have been dull. And I suspect the same applies to Mordecai Richler. This book was selected by CBC as one of 100 Novels that Make us Proud to be Canadian and I think it was an inspired choice. ( )
  gypsysmom | Mar 2, 2020 |
Barney Panofsky (produttore televisivo di successo) è un ricco ebreo canadese figlio di un poliziotto che, passati i sessant'anni, decide - apparentemente controvoglia - di scrivere una autobiografia. Il motivo che spinge Barney a scriverla è dare la sua "versione" dei fatti che hanno portato alla morte del suo amico Bernard "Boogie" Moscovitch, e liberarsi così dall'accusa di omicidio mossagli nel libro "Il tempo, le febbri" dallo scrittore Terry McIver, compagno di Barney al tempo del suo lungo soggiorno a Parigi.

Nel corso della stesura delle sue memorie tuttavia i ricordi di Barney diventano via via confusi: gli episodi del suo passato si intrecciano indissolubilmente con gli avvenimenti del suo presente. Così l'intero romanzo risulta essere una serie di flashback disordinati: i racconti delle giornate del "vecchio" Barney (acciaccato, abbandonato dalla moglie ed alcolista irrecuperabile), si mescolano alla girandola dei ricordi d'una vita ricca di avvenimenti e incontri straordinari.

Il romanzo è strutturato in tre parti, una per ciascuna delle tre mogli di Barney: la prima, la pittrice Clara Charnofsky, morta suicida a Parigi; la ciarliera "Seconda Signora Panofsky", una ricca ereditiera che Barney sposa senza troppa convinzione e dalla quale divorzia presto; Miriam, il vero grande amore di Barney, dalla quale avrà tre figli (Michael, Saul, Kate), con i quali Barney ha un rapporto conflittuale. In realtà, a causa delle continue digressioni, episodi concernenti tutte e tre le donne sono presenti in ciascuna delle tre parti del romanzo.

Le memorie di Barney vengono poi pubblicate postume, con l'inserimento di pignole note a piè di pagina a correzione delle sviste di Barney, dal figlio Michael che è inoltre autore del poscritto dell'opera, in cui si spiegano i motivi dei vuoti di memoria di Barney (che è infatti affetto dalla malattia di Alzheimer) e nelle quali viene infine chiarito il mistero sulla morte di Boogie.
  kikka62 | Jan 30, 2020 |
I would have read the entire thing, but I realized that I would regret the time it took up. I'm sure some people will find this clever and entertaining, but I'm just not one of them.
( )
  carliwi | Sep 23, 2019 |
Saw the movie and thought the book might give me more insight. Unfortunately, the character is both less appealing and less accessible. Definitely written for an audience far more familiar than I am with Jewish phrases and perspectives. ( )
  abycats | May 11, 2018 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 36 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
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» Adicionar outros autores (19 possíveis)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Mordecai Richlerautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Bekker, Jos denTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Codignola, MatteoTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Panofsky, MichaelPosfácioautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Pàmies, XavierTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Scully, JohnArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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Barney Panofsky smokes too many cigars, drinks too much whiskey, and is obsessed with two things: the Montreal Canadiens hockey team and his ex-wife Miriam. An acquaintance from his youthful years in Paris, Terry McIver, is about to publish his autobiography. In its pages he accuses Barney of an assortment of sins, including murder. It's time, Barney decides, to present the world with his own version of events. Barney's Version is his memoir, a rambling, digressive rant, full of revisions and factual errors (corrected in footnotes written by his son) and enough insults for everyone, particularly vegetarians and Quebec separatists. But Barney does get around to telling his life story, a desperately funny but sad series of bungled relationships. His first wife, an artist and poet, commits suicide and becomes--a la Sylvia Plath--a feminist icon, and Barney is widely reviled for goading her toward death, if not actually murdering her. He marries the second Mrs. Panofsky, whom he calls a "Jewish-Canadian Princess," as an antidote to the first; it turns out to be a horrible mistake. The third, "Miriam, my heart's desire," is quite possibly his soul mate, but Barney botches this one, too. It's painful to watch him ruin everything, and even more painful to bear witness to his deteriorating memory. The mystery at the heart of Barney's story--did he or did he not kill his friend Boogie?

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813.54 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 20th Century 1945-1999

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