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The Macken Charm

by Jack Hodgins

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literary, family life, small town & rural
list price: $16.99
category: Fiction
published: 2000
  • , Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book
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It is the summer of 1956, and although Rusty Macken is eager to leave rural Vancouver Island – and his family – for university, the events of Glory’s funeral will not make it easy. Over the course of a single day, the rambunctious Macken clan gathers at the site of the burned-down seaside hotel that was once the family base to mourn and remember the glamorous city girl who married the wildest Macken of all but never quite adapted to their country ways. By the time the sun comes up on the following day, Rusty may have participated in something of a miracle. At the very least, he will have been forced to confront the uneasy secrets of his own heart. Compassionate, hilarious, and wise, The Macken Charm brilliantly captures the joys, the frustrations, and the rich human drama of family life.

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Contributor notes

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.

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Editorial Review

The Macken Charm proves [Jack Hodgins] to be one of the best writers of novels in this country.…”
Quill & Quire (starred review)

The Macken Charm takes up the theme of the family with wild exuberance.…Hodgins is a funny writer and, in the comic tradition of W.O. Mitchell, Paul Quarrington and other tall-tale spinners, he can make you laugh out loud. He can also make you cry and there lies the gift of the storyteller.”
Kitchener-Waterloo Record

“Written in flawless prose – word for word, Hodgins is one of the country’s best writers.…”
Books in Canada

“It is a fine, funny, sad and readable [novel], a great yarn, the kind only an expert storyteller can produce.…”
Ottawa Citizen

“An engaging tribute to family and community and lost innocence.”
–Montreal Gazette

“A rollicking novel.…”
Canadian Literature

“A joyous, vigorous, humorous novel that, in the best traditions of comedy, hovers precariously but purposefully on the brink of the tragic.…The Macken Charm is a bravura performance, and deserves a wide readership.”

“[Hodgins] brilliantly evokes time and place.…”
Vancouver Sun

“Entertaining.…This is a colorful, imaginative story.…”
Winnipeg Free Press

“Hodgins has written a powerful novel about grief and beauty, about what has been lost and how to redeem yourself after failure.”
Ottawa X Press

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About the Author

Jack Hodgins

Jack Hodgins was raised in Merville, on Vancouver Island. He has written seven novels and three short story collections, including Spit Delaney's Island and The Invention of the World. Hodgins’ fiction has won numerous awards, including the Governor General’s Award. He and his wife Dianne live in Victoria, BC.

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