Raspberry magazine - Spring 2019

Page 30

Hide and Seek and Transformation

with Jen Currin’s Hider / Seeker By Dessa Bayrock

The title of Jen Currin’s debut short story collection has an immediate demand: who hides? Who seeks? The answer to these questions, hidden in the threads of twenty short stories, is more bashful — more clever, more slippery — than you might think. And, in the end, it’s not necessarily even about what is hidden, what is sought, and what is found — but rather what happens during the process. It’s about transformation. A woman binds her breasts and joins a monastery in order to hide from — or is it seek? — her father’s ghost. Another protagonist visits her alcoholic brother and finds only her own helplessness, finding him transformed beyond recognition. Or is it herself that has changed — through space, through distance, through refusal or inability to offer help? Another monastery — a woman carpooling to a silent retreat with a stranger, whose feet smell so awful that she wants to vomit. And yet, by the end, these awful, fungal feet, somehow become endearing — perhaps not a transformation so much as a shift in perception, a revealing, maybe even a revelation. Currin’s stories return, time and time again, to these intimacies; shifts and changes that seem simultaneously infinitesimal and seismic. Intimacy, she seems to warn, is a

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