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Author Mortimer Richter Hoping Richler's Passing Will Lead to an Increase in his Sales

Upon the death of Canadian literary icon and world renowned writer Mordecai Richler on July 3, lesser known Canadian novelist Mortimer Richter is predicting an increase in both interest and sales of his books.

Mordecai Richler: 1931-2001 / CanLit's next big thing, Mortimer Richter

"Richler's passing is most unfortunate, and my sympathies do go out to his family-a true, true genius indeed…….but, at the same time, I do have some bills to pay, you know…" said a suddenly animated Richter while rubbing his thumb against his forefingers.

With Richler's death generating a fevered interest in his books from Canadians reminded of his existence by his death, his material is flying off the shelves in bookstores across Canada. Four people were injured in a scuffle over the final remaining copy of Cocksure at a Saskatoon book store last week. Libraries are reporting waiting lists of months for anything with Richler's name on it, with library staff reportedly taking bribes in order to assure extended loans of Richler novels and essays.

Given the alphabetical proximity of his name to Richler, Richter predicts that readers who have developed a sudden insatiable hunger for Richler's books-only to wind up disappointed by the absence of inventory-will instead take notice of Richter's breadth of work. This includes titles such as 1961's Duddy Kamensky: Learning the Hard Way, a coming-of-age tale of a flawed yet likeable rogue's passage into adulthood in Sudbury, Ontario.

Professor Selma Jacoby of the University of Corner Brook Faculty of Canadian Literature is confident that Richter's books will most certainly be conveniently shelved "very, very close" to where one would regularly find Richler's books.

Vancouver-based book critic Noah Crimson elaborated on the potential spike in Richter's sales:

"The pig-ignorant, trendy types, shallow, semi-literate 20-somethings looking to get laid and those feeling guilty about never reading a book by Richler, or any other Canadian author for that matter, might mistake Richter for Richler in their frenzied desire to get anything with Richler's name on it."

"It could be quite easy for the uninitiated to confuse Barney's Version (the Giller prize winner that what Richler's last novel), with Richter's most recent book, Marnie's Version."

The author of 1982's "classic" (Richter's words) Then and Again, Joshua is jubilant with his prospects, suggesting the "Richler gravy train" at Chapters and any other book retailers remaining in Canada is sure to last for at least the next month, "which could mean no more defaulting on the mortgage payments for myself and my publisher, who coincidentally, also happens to be me," said Richter.

"Thank God for the practice of alphabetical listing. If it's good enough for Earl Hemmingwayne, it's good enough for me."

Posted on July 13th, 2001

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