William Weintraub


Crazy about Lili

“It’s a happy publishing season that includes a new book by William Weintraub.”
The National Post

Crazy About Lili is a funny, farcical, and thoroughly engaging look back.”
The Globe and Mail

“Weintraub is adept at playing the historical tease, sprinkling in enough actual facts and local colour to give...credence to his jocular coming-of-age tale.”
The Montreal Gazette

Leacock Medal for Humour Finalist


Douglas Gibson Books /
McClelland & Stewart
Canada 2005
Film option

Crazy About Lili

An innocent in the world of booze, brothels, and burlesque

Montreal in the late 1940s is the most vibrant, interesting city in North America. Booze, burlesque, brothels, gambling, corruption, and squabbling factions are part of the cacophony. Catholics, Protestants, French, English, business elite, Communist idealists, gangsters, reformers, and rogues all clamor for a piece of the action.

What does this mean to 17-year-old Richard Lippman and his friends who are about to enter their freshman year at McGill University? More than they know. All they want to do is get laid and find their direction in life.

Richard’s life is changed when his roguish Uncle Morty takes him to the Gayety Burlesque and introduces him to the dazzling stripper of the day, Lili L’Amour. Richard is smitten and sends her a poem he has written for her.

The elusive Lili, discovers a use for Richard and befriends him, introducing him to the world of exotic dancing. Meanwhile at McGill, his crush on the aristocratic Sophia provides his brush with the Communist Party which is legal in Canada. Alas, their appealing idealism is overshadowed by their earnestness.

Lili is not his sexual tutor, but his obsession for her reveals a world that sheltered, young Richard never imagined. Desperate to earn money to join Lili on the road, Richard unknowingly takes a job with a fraudulent real estate promoter. He skates through—but barely.

William Weintraub is a celebrated author of three novels and two works of non-fiction. They include the classic Why Rock the Boat which was made into a feature film (NFB), City Unique: The Rise and Fall of English Montreal, and Getting Started his memoir of literary life and friendship with Mavis Gallant, Brian Moore and Mordecai Richler.

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