Spit Delaney's Island

Spit Delaney's Island

Selected Stories

Book - 2011
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Jack Hodgins first book, published originally in 1976, is once again in print — in a new edition. Winner of the Eatons Book Prize and nominated for the Governor Generals Award, Spit Delaneys Island, a collection of short stories, put Vancouver Island on the map as a Canadian literary locale and set Hodgins off on his literary career. Often compared to Faulkners fiction of the deep South, Hodgins stories develop through people who seem to live at the edge of the world, always in danger of falling off that edge. There is Spit himself, the keeper of a steam locomotive that has been exiled to Ottawa for display; there are loggers, country wives, bookstore owners, and people who live up the mountain in isolated communes. Hodgins prose brings Vancouver Island to life in its touch, its taste and the sound of its dialects — a determinedly real world. But at the same time he imbues his people with a sense that there is something more that they cannot see, but which they sense and strive towards — a mystery or even magic that they can almost touch but which remains forever elusive.



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Jack Hodgins' first book, published originally in 1976, is once again in print -- in a new edition. Winner of the Eaton's Book Prize and nominated for the Governor General's Award, Spit Delaney's Island, a collection of short stories, put Vancouver Island on the map as a Canadian literary locale and set Hodgins off on his literary career. Often compared to Faulkner's fiction of the deep South, Hodgins' stories develop through people who seem to live at the edge of the world, always in danger of falling off that edge. There is Spit himself, the keeper of a steam locomotive that has been exiled to Ottawa for display; there are loggers, country wives, bookstore owners, and people who live up the mountainÓ in isolated communes. Hodgins' prose brings Vancouver Island to life in its touch, its taste and the sound of its dialects -- a determinedly real world. But at the same time he imbues his people with a sense that there is something more that they cannot see, but which they sense and strive towards -- a mystery or even magic that they can almost touch but which remains forever elusive.

Publisher: Vancouver : Ronsdale Press, 2011
Edition: 2nd ed
ISBN: 9781553801115
Branch Call Number: FIC HOD
Characteristics: 197 p. ;,23 cm.

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GLNovak
Aug 05, 2019

This collection of short stories resonated with me when I read it years ago, and rereading it today, immersing myself in Hodgins' quirky humourous prose, brings back the sense of getting to know the characters inside and out. He paints them as more than just residents of Vancouver Island. These people are not mainstream; they can do for themselves and are willing to believe a bit of magic lives in the land. They share an appreciation and tolerance for each other but are not shy about voicing disapproval when they feel it. Spit Delaney is one of these people. He has run old Number One locomotive at the pulp mill in Port Alberni his entire working life and now is retired. It was the real love of his life and he is now pining for it. How does he cope; how does his family cope are the themes here and the final story where we again meet Spit we discover how he has made sense of his life. Characters in the other stories also must deal with events in their own way, unpredictably but totally in keeping with how they view their world. Hodgins is able to paint fully alive, rich portraits of the settings and the people within them, and leaves us with new ways of thinking about life. He has written a number of books and they all have that flavour of individuality that made me love his first book.

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