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Jack Hodgins Biography

(1938– ), The Invention of the World, Spit Delaney's Island, The Barclay Family Theatre

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: John Hersey Biography to Honest Man's Revenge

Canadian novelist and short-story writer, born on Vancouver Island, educated at the University of British Columbia. Hodgin's fiction shows the influence of Latin American magic realism, but expresses a strong sense of regional cultural identity. Like much contemporary Canadian fiction, his novel The Invention of the World (1977) dramatizes a quest for origins; employing a broad range of narrative modes, it examines the Irish roots of a Vancouver Island community, showing how its mythic inheritance has been based on the ambivalent legacy of a founder figure who has ‘swindled’ his people with promises of a New World Eden. However, as in his short stories, collected in Spit Delaney's Island (1976) and The Barclay Family Theatre (1981), any superficial pessimism is mitigated by a resilient vision of human potential. Other novels include The Resurrection of Joseph Bourne (1980), which explores a folk community's capacity for fabulation; The Honorary Patron (1987), in which a Vancouver Island art historian returns home from Switzerland, after an absence of forty years, as patron of an arts festival; and Innocent Cities (1990), in which an English widow visits her sister's family in Australia. Other work includes Over Forty in Broken Hill: Unusual Encounters Outback and Beyond (1992), travel writing and anecdotes of the Australian Outback, and A Passion for Narrative (1994), a discussion of fiction techniques.

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