Hugh (John Blagdon) Hood Introduction - Essay

Introduction

Hugh (John Blagdon) Hood 1928–

Canadian novelist, short story writer, essayist, critic, and biographer.

Hood is an intellectual writer whose prose is deceptively simple. Although he has described himself as a "Catholic novelist," his views are often unorthodox and are rooted as much in philosophy as religion. The tone of his fiction shifts between the serious and the satirical, creating a fictive atmosphere at once realistic and fantastical, or as Hood has defined it, "superrealistic." Critics praise Hood's concise diction and the skillful craftsmanship which is particularly evident in his short stories. Also notable in his short fiction is his ability to convey large moral and philosophical concepts through seemingly trivial events. Flying a Red Kite (1962) and Dark Glasses (1976) contain examples of his most masterful writing.

Hood's most ambitious project is a twelve-volume novel entitled The New Age, which is designed to convey a comprehensive fictional representation of the Canadian experience. Hood introduces narrator Matthew Goderich in The Swing in the Garden (1975), the first volume of The New Age, and experiments in the series with the concepts of time, space, history, art, and identity. Four volumes have been published thus far; Hood has projected that the series will be completed in the year 2000.

(See also CLC, Vol. 15; Contemporary Authors, Vols. 49-52; and Contemporary Authors New Revision Series, Vol. 1.)