Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 13
- Grade: 8
With The Barclay Family Theatre, his second collection of short stories, Jack Hodgins introduces us to a cast of characters who transform the everyday world of Vancouver Island into a wondrous world of human warmth and comic energy. There is Barclay Desmond, caught between the ambitions of his mother, who wants him to become a concert pianist, and his father who wants him to follow in his steps as a logger. There is Mr. Pernouski, a real estate agent and the fattest man to ride a B.C. ferry, who believes he can offer his clients their heart's desire. Hodgins also takes us abroad to Ireland and Japan to watch as his people attempt to reinvent themselves in new theatres of action. Through it all, Hodgins depicts his people struggling to centre themselves as their world rocks them into new and unforeseen directions.
About the author
Jack Hodgins was raised in Merville, on Vancouver Island, and graduated from the University of British Columbia. Until recently, he taught fiction writing at the University of Victoria. His novels and story collections include: Spit Delaney’s Island, The Invention of the World, Innocent Cities, Broken Ground, Distance, and Damage Done by the Storm. In the spring of 2010, he published his newest novel, The Master of Happy Endings (Thomas Allen). A Passion for Narrative (a guide to writing fiction) is used in classrooms and writing groups across Canada and Australia. Hodgins’ fiction has won the Governor General’s Award, the Canada-Australia Prize, the Commonwealth Prize (Canada and the Caribbean) and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, amongst others. He has given readings, talks, and workshops in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and several European countries, and has taught an annual fiction workshop in Mallorca, Spain. In 2006 he received both the Terasen Lifetime Achievement Award and the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence in British Columbia. In 2009 the Governor General appointed him a Member of the Order of Canada. He and his wife Dianne have three grown children and three grandchildren. Jack Hodgins’ website is www.jackhodgins.ca
“It’s unforgettable. . . . The Barclay Family Theatre leaves the reader with the magic and wholeness of extraordinary moments.” —Windsor Star
“In The Barclay Family Theatre we are reading the work of a major novelist at the height of his powers and fully in control of his material. . . . It’s virtuoso writing.” —Keith Maillard, Quill & Quire
“Together these characters form a world full of diversity, illustrating the various facets of the tragicomedy of human life. We remember them as we remember the pilgrims of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales: as actors stepping forward and temporarily holding the whole stage to themselves.” —Jeanne Delbaere, Recherches anglaises et americaines
The Barclay Family Theatre: StoriesJack Hodgins and his characters have put rural Vancouver Island on the literary map. Originally published in 1981, this collection of short stories revolves around seven eccentric sisters who act out their lives with flair and drama, infecting their family, neighbours and complete strangers with their larger than life ambitions. While laughing out loud, readers are also shown the depth of the human heart, with all its imperfections.
Winner of numerous awards, Jack Hodgins received the Order of Canada in 2010.
Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2012-2013.