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Hiding Outby Jonathan Messinger
Hiding Out, Messinger's wonderful debut collection, is full of mishaps and mishaps waiting to happen, but he somehow transforms the uncomfortable moments into familiar sparks that shine and resonate.
Synopses & Reviews
Hiding Out is a collection of hilarious, sparkling stories about people avoiding the consequences of their poor decisions. A jilted lover dresses as a robot to win back the heart of an ex-girlfriend. A man builds a time machine to embrace the identity he always denied. Playful and empathic, these misadventures feature lonely hearts failing terribly to make a connection.
"Time Out Chicago books editor Messinger has a few gems sandwiched between predictably sardonic musings on failed relationships and poor life decisions in his debut collection. The opening piece, 'Captain Tomorrow,' expertly captures a mixture of teenage summer malaise and a hint of innocence lost, but it's not until several stories later, with the man-eating wolf farce 'Not Even the Zookeeper Can Keep Control,' that the reader encounters something other than recycled humor. Ironic kookiness seems to be the order of the day: a child with a large head gets stuck in a fence; there's a machine shaped like a large ear of corn and known as 'The Hummingbird'; and there are several 'hidden' stories wedged into the text. Scattered throughout are hints of Messinger's talent, and these are found in stories that explore burgeoning teen sexuality — notably 'One Valve Opens' and 'The Birds Below.' The familiar-feeling patina of self-consciousness will turn off as many readers as it hooks." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Look here. Jonathan Messinger is that guy. That guy whose stories made me come out of blurb retirement to write one more. The stories in this book are beautiful and simple and funny and true. You should not want more from a story than you will find in here." Elizabeth Crane
"I'm not going to fuck around here — Hiding Out is a book you should read. Messinger switches up styles, voices, even locales with aplomb. Just when I thought I knew where things were headed, along came the next story — or in some cases, the next paragraph — to confound expectations in the very best ways. Girls, ghosts, loneliness, the power of memory and coming of age, it's all here, the real stuff of life." Bryan Charles
"There's such freshness, naturalness, humor and charm to Jonathan Messinger's stories — an overall sense of immediacy that planted me in the present — that only in retrospect did I realize how in Hiding Out, Messinger had also subtly constructed a personal and original world." Stuart Dybek
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