Close to Hugh takes an exuberantly existential look at youth and age, art and life, love and death over one week in the world of gallery-owner Hugh Argylle.
On Monday, a fall from a ladder leaves Hugh with a fractured vision of the pain—dying parents, shaky marriages, failure of every kind—suffered by those close to him. His friends are one missed ladder-rung from going under emotionally, physically, and financially.
Somebody’s got to fix them all. And it probably has to be Hugh.
Meanwhile, beneath the adult orbit, bright young lives are taking form: the sons and daughters of Hugh’s friends are about to graduate from high school and already floating away from the gravitational pull of their parents. As complicated bonds form and break in texts and ticks on multiplying media, the desires, terrors, and revelations of adolescence are mirrored in the second adolescence of the adults.
With insight and mastery, Endicott creates surprising parallel worlds. Her ear for the cadences and concerns of two generations gives us both sets of friends on the cusp of reinvention. And as always in Endicott’s multi-layered fiction, below the surface tragicomedy lies something profound: a rare and rich perspective on what it means to fall and rise and fall again—and what in the end we owe to those we love.
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.
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