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 down-town Sydney, to the sun-baked desolation of the Queensland outback, Distance is Jack Hodgins's most rewarding novel to date.
(from the cover of the Emblem edition)
click here to read the first 2 pages
"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."
"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 description of Australia's harsh, magnificent outback are as compelling as his view of Vancouver Island. Distance is a terrific read ...."
London Free Press
A Sense of Place
"Portuguese Creek" is the name of the creek that runs through several of Jack Hodgins's novels as it does through similar farms in the actual world. Though the community is referred to by the characters as "Portuguese Creek," its official name in the novels is "Waterville." Waterville is based on the real life place of Merville, Vancouver Island. Click here for information about the setting for the Portuguese Creek novels.