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A Globe and Mail Notable Book of the Year
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.
About the Author
Jack Hodgins was born and raised on Vancouver Island. He taught Creative Writing at a number of Canadian universities, and retired from the University of Victoria in 2002.
He is the author of seven novels, including The Invention of the World; The Resurrection of Joseph Bourne, winner of the Governor General’s Award; The Macken Charm; Broken Ground, winner of the Ethel Wilson Prize for Fiction; and Distance; and three books of short stories, Spit Delaney’s Island, a finalist for the Governor General’s Award; The Barclay Family Theatre; and Damage Done by the Storm. He is also the author of A Passion for Narrative: A Guide for Writing Fiction.
Hodgins has been awarded the Canada-Australia Prize, among many others, has received three honorary degrees, and has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
Praise for Distance…
“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.”