- Hardcover: 464 pages
- Publisher: Doubleday Canada; 1st Edition edition (May 26 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385678606
- ISBN-13: 978-0385678605
- Product Dimensions: 16.6 x 3.7 x 24.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 558 g
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #249,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Close to Hugh Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 26 2015
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LONGLISTED 2015 – Scotiabank Giller Prize
"Oddly original and charming. . . . Rich with adjectives, the novel addresses huge and general questions about the meaning of life and the universe with remarkable specificity." ―The Globe and Mail
"Reading a new novel by Marina Endicott, I am often reminded of the work of the late Carol Shields, the casually understated depth of her talent. It's not just that Endicott shares with the American-born, wholly Canadian Shields an impressive skill, a comfort in writing in whatever form or approach she chooses; she also shares with Shields a fundamental, deep-seated humanity. . . . [Close to Hugh is] a powerful, rewarding novel. . . . at times, wildly funny, both broad and tightly focused." ―Toronto Star
"A thoughtful, witty examination on modern life. . . . Writing about how we live now, the struggles and joys of the Everywoman and Everyman, is something at which Endicott excels." —Edmonton Journal
"Ambitious. . . . Watching two people discover each other after having been denied happiness for so long is a delight. . . . A genuine page-turner." ―The Vancouver Sun
"The first thing to note about Marina Endicott's Close to Hugh is the book's voice, which is alive with impish humour, a deep reservoir of humanity and a gift for quirky, evocative phrasing. . . . Every sentence in this book made me want to read the next one. . . . Endicott is dealing with big ideas and profound issues. . . . [a] deliciously complex novel." ―Literary Review of Canada
"[A] wonderful riot of narrative and voice." ―The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon)
"I love Marina Endicott's writing. I adore the exquisite, unfussy grace of her language, the dexterity and range of her storytelling. Close to Hugh is slyly humorous, delightfully and cheekily observant of contemporary manners, and most importantly, filled with warmth and generosity. It was an absolute thrill to disappear into this book, to spend time with each and every character." ―Christos Tsiolkas, award-winning author of The Slap
"Delightful, tragic, gloriously elegiac and riddled with puns—Close to Hugh is just like life, only so much more beautiful for being art." —Lynn Coady, bestselling author of Strange Heaven and Hellgoing
About the Author
MARINA ENDICOTT is the author of Good to a Fault, which won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Book, Canada and the Caribbean, and was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize; The Little Shadows, which was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize; and Open Arms, which was shortlisted for the Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award. Endicott has been an actor, director, playwright and editor, and now lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where she teaches at the University of Edmonton and writes.
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Written in several different points of view, Close to Hugh is a story that brings together a cast of quirky and interesting characters who have all been broken by the past in some way. At the centre of the novel is Hugh, a loveable eccentric who suffers a fall from a ladder, which changes the way he looks at the world. The reader experiences a kind of unravelling of the carefully built walls around his “previous” life.
The story unfolds in a kind of puzzle. The structure itself beautifully expresses the complexity of the human mind. At times, the structure is almost playful in style, yet always profound in its effect. Puns in chapter titles, metaphors, and excerpts about Buddhism from Wikipedia that start each section all have deeper meaning and create the impression that these characters are in a play within a play.
I found that I didn’t so much read this story as discover it through the lurking ironic undertone, the surprising insights into existence. The shifts in narrative, sometimes using stream of consciousness, provides compelling insight into how these characters, and indeed all individuals, are linked, navigating past hurts to find love.
The author captures how humans think, their roving thoughts, judgements, observances. There are many beautiful moment and profound moments, but this, one of my favourites, remains with me like a gift:
“How long life, how long childhood lasts.”
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