Sonny Aalto, a restless middle-aged businessman, has spent his life running away from those closest to him. When his estranged, larger-than-life father, Timo, becomes too sick to care for himself, Sonny reluctantly returns to his childhood home of Vancouver Island, where he learns his father is not only dying but wants to die on his own terms - with Sonny's help. But before facing the gravity of what's ahead, the two embark on a journey to Australia, in search of a woman from their past, and over the course of the next few months their adventures will reveal difficult truths about fathers and sons, about families, about how we live and how we die - and about the good and bad things that distance can sometimes provide. Wise and irreverent, deeply moving, at times comic, and with vivid settings ranging from the frozen banks of Ottawa's Rideau Canal to the lushness of Vancouver Island, from the bustle of downtown Sydney to the sun-baked desolation of the Queensland outback, "Distance" is Jack Hodgins's most rewarding novel to date.
"From the Hardcover edition.
“Without equivocation, Distance is the best novel of the year, an intimate tale of fathers and sons with epic scope and mythic resonances.… A masterwork from one of Canada’s too-little-appreciated literary giants.”
“A glorious, funny, redemptive look at the losses of faith we all suffer as we grow older and our need to still try to hold on to what matters.”
–David Adams Richards
“It is, simply, a fundamentally human tale stunningly told.… It’s funny and touching, with a hard-earned sentimentality that rings utterly true.”
“[Distance has] a universal theme that will resonate with readers everywhere.… Hodgins is an expert storyteller. His descriptions of Australia’s harsh, magnificent outback are as compelling as his view of Vancouver Island. Distance is a terrific read.…”
–London Free Press
“Jack Hodgins’s Distance seems to pull all of his extraordinary range of experience together into one maddening, masterful whole.… By turns harrowing and hilarious.… A beguiling combination of the highly unlikely and the inevitable – mirroring the strange alchemy of real life.… Hodgins has a rare gift for creating characters at once familiar and larger than life.… Hodgins continues to live up to his billing as one of the finest
“Hodgins’s stories have always displayed a remarkable energy of language and invention. His style here is supple, natural, familiar. This is a highly skilled and experienced writer.…[Hodgins has] a master’s effortless evocations of place, West Coast and antipodean.”
–Greg Hollingshead, Globe and Mail
“Jack Hodgins takes the traditional themes of a quest for identity and relationships and creates refreshing insights.… Hodgins presents the ordinary in an extraordinary way.…”
–Winnipeg Free Press
“Distance is a masterful blend of humour and seriousness, and of the ugly and the beautiful. Hodgins brings an inventiveness to what might have been a po-faced family saga in less innovative hands. It’s this quality – the freshness of the characters and narrative – as well as the depth of feeling in the novel that makes Hodgins’s reputation so well-deserved.”
“An often hilarious, bittersweet romp.…”
“It is a quest that shimmers with surrealistic and yet fully believable incidents.”