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The Master Of Happy Endings

3.40  ·  Rating Details  ·  50 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
"The Master of Happy Endings" is a powerful new novel about memory, belonging, helping others, and the vagaries of the human heart. It is also a compelling story about how a man in his late seventies manages to conjure one more great adventure for himself.

Axel Thorstad lives in a shack on a remote island off the coast of British Columbia. Once a popular school teacher and
Hardcover, 356 pages
Published April 2010 by Thomas Allen Publishers
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switterbug (Betsey)
Apr 30, 2012 switterbug (Betsey) rated it really liked it
In this engaging novel, Alex Thorstad is a seventy-seven-year-old retired high school English teacher and widower living on the rustic, remote Estevan Island in the Strait of Georgia, BC, Canada. Tall and straight and healthy due to daily, rigorous swimming (in youth, he swam competitively), he yet feels obsolete, inconsequential to the world at large. The death of his wife and the closing of his forty-three year career as a teacher torment him and create a hollow loneliness in his soul, and he ...more
Jan 17, 2012 Dorothy rated it it was amazing
I was privileged to hear this author read from this, his most recent novel, a few months ago. I've read all of his novels and I think I like this one best of all. As an author he is certainly not losing his touch.

Most of his books are set on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, and this is no exception. The main character, Axel Thorstad, is a retired and widowed schoolteacher who has chosen to live in what was a summer cabin for the couple before she died. The cabin is on an island between Vanc
Aug 06, 2012 Mike rated it it was ok
This novel should have been called "The Master of Anti-climax". Every time I thought there might be something that broke away from everyday life, Hodgins came back with something mundane. For six pages (the fight) he had something going, but it always sunk back into the normal. I suppose, as a teacher, I should celebrate that Hodgins has painted a teacher in a positive light, but the impact of this teacher on his charge is rather minimal. I think Hodgins should have left Thorstad on the island. ...more
Susan Ketchen
Mar 22, 2013 Susan Ketchen rated it it was amazing
Superbly written, gentle and engaging novel by a master story teller. I was sad to finish it, as though I'd lost a friend. Books like this are hard to come by!
Feb 02, 2011 Becky rated it liked it
This story focuses on Axel Thorstad, an elderly retired English teacher looking for purpose after the passing of his wife. In some ways I was drawn to Axel. I found the character's insights on teaching often spot-on, and I also was drawn in by his reminiscences of the past from the perspective of a septugenarian. At other times I was frustrated by his passivity. He seemed to float through the story, making interesting observations but not really doing anything about anything. At times he came ac ...more
Joelle Anthony
Jan 27, 2014 Joelle Anthony rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the writing, but the story sometimes was so melancholy it was hard to keep going. Still, it was worth it in the end, and fun to read a book set in my neck of the woods.
Mar 24, 2011 Karena rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian
Wonderful book, stioryline and characters. Just as funny as his previous works and much more accessible to non-coastal readers. Very quick read.
J Gorman
Mar 19, 2013 J Gorman rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction-canadian
March 2013. Enjoyed the first part of book but it got very tiresome when scene shifted to LA. I didn't finish book.
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Novelist and short story writer Jack Hodgins lives on Vancouver Island where until recently he taught fiction writing at the University of Victoria. Raised in the small rural community of Merville in the Comox Valley, he graduated with a B.Ed from the University of British Columbia, and taught high school in Nanaimo between 1961 and 1981. He was a Visiting Professor at the University of Ottawa bet ...more
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