The Next Chapter

If you liked Larry's Party by Carol Shields, you'll love...

Donna Bailey Nurse has a new book for Carol Shields fanatics: Marina Endicott's Close to Hugh.

The Next Chapter columnist Donna Bailey Nurse says if you liked Larry's Party by Carol Shields, you'll love Close to Hugh by Marina Endicott. This interview originally aired on November 23, 2015.

Two male characters — we're really focused on their inner lives and inner experiences. Also the settings: small cities, looking into the lives of people that we would not perhaps consider deeply. Hugh is fiftysomething years old and he's the owner of an art gallery in Peterborough, Ontario. He's ordinary, but he's also at the same time very special to his group of friends. He's like control central for friends. When we meet Hugh, what is really the main thing that is happening in his life in the moment is that his mother Mimi is dying in a hospice and she's slowly fading away and he's deep, deep in grief. This does not stop him from being there for his friends. 

What Marina Endicott plays with quite a bit is falling. When we meet him he tips off the highest rung of a ladder and slams his head and you sort of wonder for the rest of the book, is he in Wizard of Oz land? You're never quite sure if what he perceives is correct. 

It's very, very physical. Where most novels deal with the mind and emotion, Marina Endicott really insists on bringing a lot of physical broad humour into her novels. It's almost like vaudeville; people are falling, punching each other in the eye. We are physical beings and she doesn't leave that out and that gives it a sense of kinetic energy. 

Donna Bailey Nurse's comments have been edited and condensed.