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Crazy About Lili by William Weintraub

Finalist for The Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction in 2005


The author of City Unique takes us back to the wicked old Montreal of 1948 in this fine, funny novel, where an innocent seventeen-year-old McGill student falls for a famous stripper

Our hero, Richard Lippman, is about to enter McGill and is desperate for two things — a sense of direction in life and, much more important, sexual experience with a real, live girl. Unknown to his “refined” Westmount parents, he’s brought into the exciting Montreal world of burlesque and brothels by his Uncle Morty, who introduces him to Lili L’Amour, the star stripper of the day. Before you know it, he’s (a) head over heels in love with Lili and (b) using his poetic talents to write the text for her routine, and even giving her tips on how to move. Much follows, including his creation of “Freckles, The Girl Next Door,” a stripping sensation. By day a respectful McGill student courted by campus Communists, by night a free-spending night-club sampler and reviewer — well, it’s quite a year for Richard.

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