Canadian Odyssey: A Reading of Hugh Hood's The New Age/Le nouveau siecle
Published between 1975 and 2000 and completed shortly before his death, Hugh Hood's twelve-volume novel-series The New Age/Le nouveau siecle represents a major achievement in Canadian fiction. Hood takes us on a remarkable, though challenging, journey in time and space while chronicling the life of his intellectually inquisitive protagonist, Matt Goderich. Moving from history and politics to literature and the arts, from popular song to the vagaries of fashion, from urban stress to the relaxations of cottage-country, these novels explore the texture of Canadian life with a depth and comprehensiveness that, when fully grasped, are dazzling. In Canadian Odyssey W.J. Keith steers general readers and specialist students alike through the complexities of Hood's scheme. He presents biographical information about the planning and writing of the series, places it among other examples of Roman-Fleuve, offers background concerning Hood's literary influences, and provides novel-by-novel discussions of each book. Written in a straightforward style, avoiding jargon and the excesses of literary theory, Canadian Odyssey makes a convincing case for The New Age as a great Canadian masterpiece.