So, I read this in one day, it was that good. I really didn't want to put it down, and I didn't want it to be over.
So, confession...I read this book because I was on a quest to find the movie. I was on a quest to find the movie because it stars Scott Speedman. I've yet to see the movie, but this book is a wild ride the likes I've only seen in books by John Irving.
Barney has lost everything, the woman of his dreams, the esteem of colleagues and friends and he's murdered his best friend. And, as he falls further into dementia we learn how Barney got into the mess that is his life.
Barney's life is just as funny as it is tragic. In his life he tells the truth only twice and both times to shattering results. Boogie, his drug-addled best friend, is everything that he desires to be and Boogie rewards him by sleeping with his wife (Mrs. Panofsky #2) and leaving him holding the gun, literally, as Boogie is nowhere to be found and, even Barney doesn't know if he shot him or not.
Barney's version begins at the end and throughout we learn that while Barney may be a philandering, greedy little man he also loves passionately and gives everything he has. He has feelings and regrets nothing...well, except for maybe those two times he didn't rely on his own version of things.
I found myself laughing at the truthful absurdity of Barney's life and I found myself hoping that my life has so many gorgeous stories to tell.
I appreciate all that I learned about Jewish and Canadian culture from Barney and his three lovely wives and I look forward to reading more books by Richler.