One morning I woke up to her giving me a tattoo with a sharpened chopstick and ink from a discarded ink cartridge she had found in my garbage. The tattoo was a startling likeness of her face. She worked diligently on my foot until it was done.
Her stomach grew. It was a hysterical pregnancy, but very convincing—to her, and to everyone else. She told everyone at the café the baby was mine. They always looked surprised, but then quickly covered it up. They didn’t understand my androgyny and had no idea what my genitals were capable of.
Hider/Seeker is the debut fiction collection from award-winning poet Jen Currin. These stories are about addiction and meditation, relationships and almost-relationships, solitude and sexuality. They take place in cafes, in snowy woods, on city street corners, and at Zen retreats – where conversations happen in the margins of books and filthy shoes are treated with reverence. Ex-wives reunite only to be confronted with their past; an aunt believes she has made a heart-breaking discovery about her niece; a seemingly never-ending hysterical pregnancy becomes the talk of a cafe. These stories are always unflinchingly honest in their portrayal of relationships – in particular the relationships of the book’s LGBTQ+ characters – as they navigate change, spirituality, and sex. Currin welcomes the reader into the complicated lives of her characters and invites them to stay. Hider/Seeker won a Canadian Independent Book Award, was a finalist for the ReLit Award, and was named a 2018 Globe and Mail Best Book.
“The itch of addiction, the legacy of abuse, the heartbreak of love’s abrupt end – Jen Currin writes into difficult places with delicacy, humour and meditative grace, mixing magic realism with cutting edge observations of urban life. There is a tough tenderness to every one of these stories.”
Shaena Lambert, author of Oh, My Darling and Radiance
“Jen Currin’s stories unfold in a variety of tones and modes: some hover like fables, some pierce like reportage, and others simply break your heart in slow motion. Through all their material particularity, and through Currin’s precise and agile language, glimpses of wisdom — both chased and accidentally revealed — recur. Like the “beautifully jeweled knife” passed down for protection in one of these tales, this collection is a work of art that cuts brilliantly through to the truth.”
Wayde Compton, author of The Outer Harbour