Barney's Version

Mordecai Richler’s ”coven of jumped-up Jews” (Duddy Kravitz, the Gursky clan) in Barney’s Version runs amok once again in this brilliantly slapdash fictional memoir. Barney Panofsky, a producer of schlock TV, laments his wasted life, his first wife’s suicide, his best friend’s drowning. His rants are hilarious. But the real joke is a sad one: This confessed ”cynic, philanderer, boozer” is actually a nice guy, generous and gallant, if only he knew it. Raucous but elegiac, this is Richler’s tribute to a showbiz generation on the wane—his own. A