The Incomparable Atuk is a satirical novel by Canadian author Mordecai Richler.[1] It was first published in 1963, by McClelland and Stewart. The novel was published as Stick Your Neck Out in the United States.[1] The Incomparable Atuk tells the story of a Canadian Inuit who is transplanted to Toronto, and who quickly adopts the greed and pretensions of the big city.

The Incomparable Atuk
First edition
AuthorMordechai Richler
McClelland and Stewart
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)

It satirized the Canadian cultural elites of Richler's day, who in the novel fetishize Atuk first as a noble savage and, when his corruption becomes apparent, as a symbol of Canadian nationalism and anti American sentiment. Many of the characters are parodies of real Canadian celebrities, including Hugh Garner, Nathan Cohen, Pierre Berton, and Nathan Phillips.[2]

A film adaptation was in the works in the middle of the 1980s to the beginning 1990s, but never followed through. The movie, which would have been simply called Atuk, has been called cursed, as several actors associated with the film died, including John Belushi, Sam Kinison, John Candy, and Chris Farley.[3]

Many overweight actors were interviewed for the movie, and the actors who died early were said to have lived rather unhealthy lifestyles. It also attracted the interest of other actors who have survived well beyond the film’s ceased production, such as Will Ferrell, Jack Black, John Goodman, and Josh Mostel, as well as Jonathan Winters, who lived to age 87, dying in April 2013.[4]


  1. ^ a b Poore, Charles (August 10, 1963). "Books of The Times". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Richler, Mordecai (1989). The incomparable Atuk (The New Canadian Library ed.). Toronto: McClelland and Stewart. ISBN 0-7710-9973-8.
  3. ^ Harkins, Danny (August 12, 2008). "The Insane True Stories Behind 6 Cursed Movies".
  4. ^ Taylor, Brett. "Hollywood Curse Legends". CSI. Retrieved 10 July 2018.