Morley Torgov



Benjamin Marshall, age 13, chooses to spend his summer vacation with his cranky grandfather Ira instead of going to camp. It is not an easy time for either of them. Ben's parents are in the midst of a divorce and his grandfather faces a professional dilemma.

Ira has practised law in the town of Port Sanford for almost 40 years. He is a stickler for the law, for rectitude, for discretion, and for rules. Yet, he now is determined to break the rules.

When his wealthy client Mrs. O'Hearn dies, Ira becomes executor of her will. He must distribute vast sums to her ungrateful niece and nephews. Even worse, he must have her precious dog killed. Mrs. O"Hearn did not want her beloved pet to live without her.

When Ira can't face killing the dog, he wakes Ben, takes the pet, and the three hit the road. In hot pursuit are the three greedy relatives and the sheriff.

This unconventional road trip proves brief, but the experience and revelations likely will shape Ben's outlook and his future.

Raincoast Canada 2002



"The War to End All Wars is a satirical, plot-driven narrative enhanced by Torgov’s fast-paced, polished prose, whimsically weaving the cosmopolitan with the provincial."
- The Globe & Mail

"Torgov has a good way with words, and the novel’s opening sentence would be right at home in a great war novel like All Quiet on the Western Front or Johnny Got His Gun…Readers who value character and style will find much treasure here."
- National Post

In World War One, known as "the war to end all wars," it was a peculiar fact that Jewish soldiers often fought on opposite sides, many of them in the German army under the Kaiser, and many more on the Allied side in the armies of Russia, Britain, France, and the United States. Elliot Pines (born Eliezer Pinsky) is a lowly private in a regiment of the Russian army that is wiped out in 1917 at Linz on the Austrian front, during a German assault. In that German regiment was Karl Sternberg, also a Jew and a highly decorated officer.

By a believable stroke of coincidence, these two men find themselves living in the small but thriving community of Oreville, Michigan in the mid 1920s. Now they are fighting another war - this time as business competitors and suitors.

Among Elliot's formidable adversaries is Karl's sister-in-law, the redoubtable Hannah Sternberg.

The stakes grow higher and higher. It is prohibition in the United States and Oreville is on the main road used by bootleggers transporting booze from Canada to the speakeasies of Detroit where the Purple Gang holds sway.

As in all of Morley Torgov's novels, humor abounds, partly because the population of Oreville possess wit, feistiness, and cunning and partly because the conflicts demand ingenious schemes of survival.

But war involves death and tragedy. Elliot Pines has at last found a cause worthy of sacrifice and this is war.

Morley Torgov has written four other novels including the classics, A Good Place to Come From and The Outside Chance of Maximillian Glick for which he won the Leacock Medal for humour. His work has been adapted for television, stage and film. These include three full-length plays by Israel Horovitz which ran for a year each in New York City and are performed regularly in community theaters in the U.S.

Malcolm Lester Books/98



"A beautiful book..."

Antonine Maillet

A timeless gem about a boy choked by parental love. Two men clear his path to independence -- his music teacher and a strange young Hassidic rabbi in old-world garb. He and Max share yearnings of escape -- Max to be a concert pianist, the rabbi to be a stand-up comic.

-The Leacock Medal For Humor
-Winner of the Torgi Award
-Award-winning film showing in Europe
-22-part TV series showing in Europe

J'ai Lu France/94
Atelier du Pere Castor France/94
Panorama Czech/94/95
Raincoast CAN/Reissue

Morley Torgov has been hailed for his sharply realized characters and his own special comic genius. His short pieces have appeared in the New York Times and are widely anthologized.



Farb is a lawyer, and like most lawyers he is not an obvious candidate for secular sainthood. But one gruelling Friday, Farb is tested.

He becomes ensnared in a conflict of interest between two major clients over a real estate sale. His estranged, but still beloved, wife Mimi who left him to move to Los Angeles now wants her share of the value of their house so she can travel with a new man. And danger looms when he stumbles into an armed robbery at a convenience store.

How Farb sorts through the irritations, disappointments, and moral dilemmas of his life is the subject of Torgov's immensely entertaining and compassionate novel.

Lester & Orpen Denny's CAN/90
Seal Books CAN/91



"Morley Torgov is a brilliant writer -- ironic, sad, funny; his stories come out of that powerful mixture of ancient Jewish tradition and New World experience that has produced some of this country's best literature."

Stephen Vizinczey

Morley Torgov's memoir portrays the rich diversity of life in a small northern Canadian town in the 1930s and 1940s. And underlying it, the funny, heartbreaking account of a father and son who never quite understood each other, but did understand something more important -- love and remembrance.

-The Leacock Medal For Humor
-Four-part TV series/1970s
-Three full-length plays by Israel Horovitz continue to be staged in U.S. community theaters.



"Morley Torgov calls to mind the early Malamud and Bellow."

Publishers Weekly

A comic novel in three acts involving the intertwined lives and fantasies of three generations of men.

Lester & Orpen Dennys CAN/77
Penguin Books 1978