Close to Hugh

Publisher: Anchor Canada

This witty and compassionate national bestseller--now in paperback--shows us how two generations in a seemingly ordinary small town navigate extraordinary rites of passage during a single, fateful week in autumn.

Close to Hugh is a glorious, exuberant, poignant comic novel about youth and age, art and life, love and death--and about losing your mind and finding your heart's desire over the course of seven days one September. As the week opens, fifty-something Hugh Argylle, owner of the Argylle Art Gallery, has a jarring fall from a ladder--a fall that leaves him with a fractured off-kilter vision of his own life and the lives of his friends, who are going through crises (dying parents; disheveled marriages; wilting businesses) that leave them despairing, afraid, one half-step from going under emotionally or financially. Someone's going to have to fix all that, thinks Hugh--and it will probably be him.
     Meanwhile, beneath the adult orbit, bright young lives are taking form: these are the sons and daughters of Hugh's friends, about to graduate from high school and already separating from the gravitational pull of their parents. As bonds knit and unravel on cellphones and iPads and Tumblr and Twitter, the desires and terrors and sudden revelations of adolescence are mirrored in the second adolescence of the soon-to-be childless adults. With exquisite insight and surefooted mastery, Endicott manages something surprising: to show us, with an unerring ear for the different cadences and concerns of both generations, two sets of friends on the cusp of simultaneous reinvention. And, as always in Endicott's wonderful fictional worlds, underpinning the sharp comedy and keenly observed drama is something more profound: a rare and rich perspective on what it means to rise and fall and rise again, and what in the end we owe those we love.


LONGLISTED 2015 – Scotiabank Giller Prize
National Bestseller

"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