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1st Canadian edition cover
||John Scully (first edition photograph);
Spencer Francey Peters (first edition design)
||Knopf Canada (first edition,
hardcover); Chatto and Windus (first U.K.
||16 Sept 1997 (Canada); 25 Sept 1997
||417 pages (first edition, hardcover); 424
(first U.K. edition, hardcover)
||ISBN 0-676-97078-8 (first edition,
hardcover); 0-7011-6272-4 (first U.K. edition, hardcover)
||Jacob Two-Two's First Spy Case
||Dispatches from the Sporting
Barney's Version is a novel written by
Canadian author Mordecai
Richler, published by Knopf Canada in 1997.
The story is written in the style of an autobiography of Barney
Panofsky, and recounts his life in varying detail. At the end of
the book he is diagnosed with Alzheimer's
Disease, which explains his memory losses (corrected by his son
Michael through the use of footnotes), and his repeatedly reminding
himself of the name of the utensil used to strain spaghetti (a
colander). Barney may be viewed as an unreliable
narrator, in that his recollections go from lucid to ludicrous
with his varying mental states, but he is only mistaken about minor
things. Underlying the story of Barney's three marriages is the
mysterious disappearance of his friend Boogie. Though there is no
body, police suspect murder, and Barney himself is tried but
acquitted of murder. The mystery is explained at novel's end.
- Barney Panofsky - Main character, an
English-speaking Jew from Montreal, going from struggling friend of
artists in Paris to rich TV producer back in Quebec.
- Bernard "Boogie" Moscovitch - Barney's best
friend, whom he was judged innocent of murdering.
- Terry McIver - Barney's friend turned sworn
enemy. It is McIver's published memoirs that drive Barney to write
his versions of events.
- Miriam Greenberg - Barney's third wife, who
leaves him for Blair. Barney always hopes that she will come back
- '"The Second Mrs. Panofsky" - Barney's shallow
and verbose second wife, whose name we never learn, and who leaves Barney at the time of
the disappearance of Boogie.
- Clara Charnofsky - Barney's beautiful but
mentally ill first wife, whom he met in Paris, and whose poetry from their time in Paris
become best-selling feminist literature.
- Leo Bishinsky - Barney's friend from Paris,
who became a famed artist.
- Cedric Richardson a.k.a. Ismail ben Yussf -
Barney's rich, black friend from Paris.
- Morty Herscovitch- Barney's doctor in
- Blair Hopper né Hauptman - A draft-dodging
American who is taken in by the Panofskys and eventually becomes
the partner of Barney's third wife, Miriam.
- Hymie Mintzbaum - A movie producer friend of
- Sean O'Hearne - A Sûreté du Québec detective,
certain Barney is guilty of Boogie's homicide.
- Duddy Kravitz - A character who appeared
originally in Richler's The
Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz and St. Urbain's
Horseman, now a wealthy man in his sixties.
After being in development for 12 years, a film based on
Barney's Version is currently in production with Paul Giamatti in
the title role. Richard J. Lewis is directing the film
Lantos is producing.
Michael Konyves wrote the screenplay.
Filming will take place in Montreal, the Laurentians, Rome and New
Hoffman has also recently signed on to the project, playing
Barney's father. Rosamund Pike, Minnie Driver and
Lefevre have also been cast as Barney's three ex-wives.
The cast also includes Scott Speedman, Bruce
Greenwood, Macha Grenon, Mark Addy, Maury Chaykin, Saul Rubinek, Jake Hoffman, Anna
Hopkins, Cle Bennett and Harvey Atkin. David
Egoyan, and Paul
Gross all make cameo appearances.
The Book of Secrets
(1994) · Rohinton Mistry, A Fine
Balance (1995) · Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace
(1996) · Mordecai Richler, Barney's Version
(1997) · Alice Munro, The Love of a Good Woman
(1998) · Bonnie Burnard, A Good House
(1999) · Michael Ondaatje, Anil's
Ghost / David
Adams Richards, Mercy among the Children
(2000) · Richard B. Wright, Clara Callan
(2001) · Austin Clarke, The Polished
Hoe (2002) · M.G. Vassanji, The In-Between World of
Vikram Lall (2003) · Alice Munro, Runaway
(2004) · David Bergen, The Time in
Between (2005) · Vincent Lam, Bloodletting &
Miraculous Cures (2006) ·
Elizabeth Hay, Late Nights
on Air (2007) · Joseph Boyden, Through
Black Spruce (2008) · Linden MacIntyre, The Bishop's