Under Review

Jen Currin

Hider / Seeker

Anvil Press; 30/04/2018



Hiding from the people who project onto us, finding freedom in the people who enlighten us. We are a broken people, some more than others. Some hide, some seek, some find.

In this debut collection of fiction penned by Vancouver author Jen Currin, the reader is taken through a rapid-fire series of lives coming together and unraveling, relationships budding and breaking, self awareness developing, and the hard realities met along the way.

There is a thread of yearning that binds these stories together. Between tales of deceit and weakness are pillars of strength and meditative silence. As often as the characters in Hider / Seeker are searching for peace and spiritual meaning, others are simply looking to numb their pain through substance or relationship addiction. Take for instance Mikio in “Up the Mountain,” who is on their way to a meditation retreat. Somewhat frozen in fear and with unease in their heart they embark on this journey into silence, met with distractions and annoyances along the way, but it isn’t until a ghostly visit from a long lost parent that the fear starts to melt away.

There is a satisfying sense of closure within most of these stories, whether it be the two ex-partners attempting a second go and realizing it just won’t work, the trials of substance abuse, the peace found amidst distraction, and even the morbid tale of three sisters finding their way through years of abuse. This collection of stories shows us how we hide and seek our way through life.

Currins wordplay is beautiful and clever, drawing the reader in with an easy and relatable grace. Her largely LGBTQIA2S+ characters are as strong willed as they are fragile as they flirt with death and each other, the mystery of spirit, the need for spiritual retreat, and the facing of harsh reality.

We are, after all, a wounded people in search of our personal answers and though these stories are works of fiction, they speak with a very real voice.