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Close to Hugh

3.25  ·  Rating details ·  303 ratings  ·  58 reviews
As in her bestselling, Giller-shortlisted novel Good to a Fault, Marina Endicott returns with her sharply observant eye, compassionate heart and witty pen to the trappings and travails of modern life--showing us how two generations in a seemingly ordinary small town navigate extraordinary rites of passage during one fateful week in autumn.

Close to Hugh is a glorious, exuberant,/>Close
ebook, 400 pages
Published May 26th 2015 by Doubleday Canada
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Average rating 3.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  303 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: xx2017-completed
This is a fascinating book, and a great story. I felt some resistance near the beginning because it dives, and dives deeply, into the ‘right brain world’. The world of art, of dance, of music, of writing, of theatre – and I wasn’t sure I wanted to visit that world.

Yet there I was; and there was a reward. Once I stopped resisting, this book completely took me in – into a world that is really a community of mostly arts-type people who have known each other since childhood. And the stor
Sep 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015, can-con, favourites
When we give someone else power over us, when we take power over them by loving, what a long string of obligation we begin to unwind through the maze of life.

Close to Hugh is just exactly my type of book: The language is playful and artfully formed into layers of meaning that demonstrate the point of enjoying a story on the page; literature is an artform unlike any other and too few authors seem to want to use all the colours in their crayon boxes; acting like art and form are two distinct disciplines that must be
May 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Disclosure: I was fortunate to receive this book for advanced reading and an honest review. At my most generous, I can only muster a 3 stars rating. I was so excited to read my copy especially since the preview was so well done but regretfully, I was not wowed.

There were some good aspects and I will note them. I think there was a terrific story but the writing style made reading this book too tedious. Short, choppy sentences; difficult to understand prose and puns (Hugh/you) throughout. Here is an example
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian
Marina Endicott is one of those authors whose books I keep buying but never seem to get around to reading (Good to a Fault and The Little Shadows have both been languishing on my shelves since publication, never quite exciting me enough to pick them up and read them) so I nearly didn't bother with 'Close to Hugh' (how many unread books by an author do I need?). Anyway, I'm glad I d ...more
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
I can't do it. I tried. It's so long, and while I really do enjoy the parts with Hugh, the rest is strange with the stream of consciousness writing, and I just can't get into it. It's just not keeping my interest enough to want to continue investing in this rather large book. :-(
Steven Langdon
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The two previous Marina Endicott novels I've read ("Good to a Fault" - shortlisted for the Giller Prize, and "Little Shadows" - shortlisted for the Governor-General's Prize) are both set in the west, and were excellent at capturing the ambience of prairie towns and cities. "Close to Hugh" represents a complete change in scenery, to Peterborough, Ontario, and nearby Toronto. And Endicott is not quite as adept at capturing the particularities of this quite different part of Canada.

May 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
I loved Marina Endicott's first book, "Good to a Fault" but was quite disappointed in "Close to Hugh". It seemed to take a long time to get into the story and figure out the 'who' and the 'what' of the story. It was definitely a story about pain as everyone was suffering some kind of pain either physical, mental or emotional: the pain of losing a parent, the pain of having a marriage disintegrate, the pain of growing up, etc. and Hugh was trying to fix everyone's problems while ignoring his own ...more
Polly Krize
May 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

On the whole, this was a difficult book to like. Some characters were definitely under-developed, while others seem to be thrust upon the reader with all their imperfections beautifully described. The one exception being long-suffering Hugh, who has become a type of Mr. Fix-It for the family. I feel that the story is a good one, with its multi-generational contrast, but perhaps not as intriguing as it could be.
Oct 09, 2015 rated it did not like it
Hated this - did not finish. If there was one more pun on Hugh's name I would have stuck a fork in my eye.( So I stopped reading ). Where was the editor? Why did you let the author get away with this? Why was it nominated for a Giller? Please do not waste your time on this one.
Nov 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
Good reads doesn't have a "gave up" status, so I guess I'll say I'm done. I gave it 75+ pages, and it wasn't bad. In fact, in other circumstances, I might finish it happily enough. But . . . I just didn't much care what happened to anyone, and life is short, and there are many books.
Apr 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I received a copy of this from the publisher via Netgalley.

A week in the life of Hugh, a gallery-owner, whose mother (Mimi) is dying in the hospice. The plot revolves around a drama masterclass being held at the local high school, which is being run by Newell, Hugh's foster-brother, and Newell's boyfriend, Burton, whom Hugh hates. Ivy is an actress, also in town to facilitate the masterclass and she and Hugh immediately fall in love. The cast of characters, all of whom are tightly co
3.5-stars, for now - i am still processing this read, unsure about what i think/feel.

there was much i liked (loved!), but there were also some things that made it hard for me to really get into a good flow with the story. so i am going to think on this a bit more to see if i can gather some more coherent thoughts. i do adore marina endicott, so i want to give her and the novel their proper dues. :)

the likes:
• hugh
• ivy
• ruth
• the setting (peterborough, ontario)
• the contr/>the
Jane Mulkewich
May 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Set in Peterborough, Ontario, loosely around a group of young adults in a theatre /drama master class, and other artists of various kinds as characters, and in fact at the beginning of the book I got out a piece of paper to try to keep track of the characters because there were so many and I was trying to figure out the relationships between them, but it got easier as I got further into the book, and got hooked on the characters. I read some other reviews of this book, and readers either loved o ...more
Sep 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian, zz2015
Wow, this book was exquisitely written. It was the writing: the oozing emotion out of simple words, phrases, the poetry, the raw-ness of the characters, that pulled me through this book. Not a light piece, but something to be chewed and tasted and thoroughly explored. There's so much insight and accurate portrayal of love and life and the awkwardness of being human to make this book profound. So many characters, but their integration (even though the teens are more like university students) as a ...more
Dec 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book very much. The cast of characters were all interesting and an attractive mix of age, personality, character and disposition. The weaving of all the interactions between them all was very cleverly done. I appreciated the range of emotions each character experienced, and how they were dealt with. I very much appreciated the author's humor and the many versions and insertions of the "close to Hugh" theme. It was good story with a satisfying ending.
Maureen B.
Jul 05, 2015 rated it liked it
The puns on Hugh's name were a bit much but there were lots of things I liked about this book--like Hugh's immense love for his family and friends; and Ivy's calm and practical take on life; the lovely Newell; the nasty Burton . . . Not much in the plot department and a cast of characters that needed trimming but, at its best, reminded me of Robertson Davies.
Colleen Hetherington
Nov 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Intriguing, frustrating, brilliant. Those who love art and drama and literature will glory in this book. Others, I fear, might be frustrated despite it's finely woven structure and fascinating characterizations. The interplay of these characters and the parallels drawn in the relationships would provide no end of thought-provoking dialogue.
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Tons of detail and tons of characters. I liked the way the younger people actually interacted with the older ones (which happened in my life when I was in my early 20s.) This story felt truthful and real.

I liked the poetic/thoughts sections and the relationship between the two major characters.
Jun 22, 2015 rated it did not like it
I soon discovered this is not the kind of book I enjoy - too many characters, whose lives are intertwined in complicated ways. Not an easy read, and I gave up before I read the first chapter. Very disappointing as I loved Endicott's book "Good to a Fault".
Lisa Nikolits
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful, touching, astute and marvellous book! Close To Hugh will stay close to me for quite some time. I borrowed this from the library but I need to buy my own copy.
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Exceptional, multilayered novel.
Jan 16, 2016 rated it did not like it
Dreadful blabber with no point or focus.
Aug 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
(view spoiler) ...more
Maia Caron
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I’ll read anything Marina Endicott writes for the same reason I read Ian McEwan: for the stunning prose and intimate examinations of characters that reveal existential truths.

Written in several different points of view, Close to Hugh is a story that brings together a cast of quirky and interesting characters who have all been broken by the past in some way. At the centre of the novel is Hugh, a loveable eccentric who suffers a fall from a ladder, which changes the way he looks at the world. The
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Joanne
Recommended to Sandy by: Author recommended by Joanne
'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.'
This is the Goodreads summary of the book that I haven't yet finished. I just had it renewed for the 3rd time. It went with me during the past 6 or 8 weeks as I travelled to and back from Vancouver island.
Thanks to Joanne who told me about Marina Endicott as I looked them up
Joyce Douglas
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
I liked the characters in Close to Hugh but that was all. It was a novel that jumped from one point of view to,another frenetically but on the other hand is was staggering. It felt like it was staged, written to expose the narrowness of our existence
Michele Menard
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was the first book of Marina Endicott that I didn't enjoy immensely. Strangely - for all the reasons that people gave it five stars - I gave it two. Too hard to get into, too flowery of language... I didn't finish it because I stopped caring about the people in it.
Jun 07, 2018 rated it did not like it
Seemed precious, self-consciously poemy. DNF
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not her best work
Apr 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
Gave up in first chapter did not enjoy
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Marina Endicott was born in Golden, BC, and grew up with three sisters and a brother, mostly in Nova Scotia and Toronto. She worked as an actor and director before going to England, where she began to write fiction. After London she went west to Saskatoon, where she was dramaturge at the Saskatchewan Playwrights Centre for many years before going farther west to Mayerthorpe, Alberta; she now lives ...more
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