Solomon Gursky Was Here

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Solomon Gursky Was Here
First edition
Author Mordecai Richler
Country Canada
Language English
Publisher Viking Canada
Publication date
Media type Print
Pages 557
ISBN 0-670-82526-3

Solomon Gursky Was Here is a novel by Canadian author Mordecai Richler first published by Viking Canada in 1989.


The novel tells of several generations of the fictional Gursky family, who are connected to several disparate events in the history of Canada, including the Franklin Expedition and rum-running. Some fans and critics have cited this as Mordecai Richler's best book, and in terms of scope and style it is unmatched by his other works. The parallels between the Gursky family and the Bronfmans are such that the novel "may be seen as a thinly disguised account of the [Bronfman] family".[1] While Richler himself denied any similarities, "one longtime Bronfman associate put it, 'I don't know why Mordecai bothered to change the names.'"[2]


The tale centres on Moses Berger, an alcoholic failed writer who is obsessed with Solomon Gursky, the brother of Bernard and Morrie and absent from the family empire after a fatal plane crash. It is implied that it is disappointment with his own father, the failed poet L. B. Berger, with whom Moses has a deeply dysfunctional relationship that put him on the trail of Solomon, a character as strong-willed as he was mysterious.

Solomon Gursky is told in a non-linear fashion, jumping around in both Moses' personal timeline as well as through four generations of the legendary Gursky family. Though much of the story is told from Moses' perspective, parts are also told from the perspectives of different members of the family and the people attached to them, creating a much more ambiguous picture of the Gurskys.


  1. ^ Taylor, Graham D, "Seagram Comes to Scotland: The Role of Local Players in the Overseas Expansion of a Canadian Multinational, 1949-1965", Business and Economic History, 7, 2009.
  2. ^ Janofsky, J: "Whiskey sour: a great family saga full of booze, ambition … and shame", Literary Review of Canada, September 2006.