When I started reading Mordecai Richler’s St. Urbain’s Horseman, I wasn’t necessarily aware of what I was getting into. I’d seen the novel recommended in a few places and I had a vague idea of what it was about, but I never could’ve foreseen that it so many things happening in it.
Richler offers a narrative that has an inherent speed to it; sometimes it’s hard to stop reading because the narrative is moving too fast to stop. It’d be like getting out of a car as it speeds down the highway. A big part of this is the fact that the work relies heavily on historical references. The narrative is constantly throwing out names, events, places and daring the reader to keep up with it. Sometimes I’m there, sometimes I’m not, which makes it all the more interesting. It’s honestly satisfying to read a book that surprises you and keeps on doing so because it demands you go beyond reading it, to seek out all these references.
There is an underlying narrative that focuses on antisemitism in Canada. Cousin Joey, the Horseman, is always said to be searching for Mengele. He’s shown getting men together in order to fight those who insult and threaten other Jews. Because I didn’t read articles or posts about St. Urbain’s Horseman, I didn’t expect this whole other narrative to happen, but I’m enjoying it immensely.
It’s still early days in the novel, so who knows what else is in store! I almost want to pair the novel with essays about the Holocaust and it’s effects in Canada, if I can find them.
Stay classy, readers!