A Joy To Be Hidden is set in a vividly recreated late-90s New York City.
The protagonist is Alice Stein, a graduate student whose father died a year before, and who has now lost her grandmother. In the process of sorting through the grandmother's belongings, Alice unlocks a family secret. In addition to its wisdom and rich humour, the novel is full of memorable characters.
We can never quite forget the title quote—"It Is a joy to be hidden, and a disaster not to be found” (D. W. Winnicott)—and we discover, over the course of the novel, that it applies to all its characters.
Ariela Freedman, author
Ariela Freedman was born in Brooklyn and has lived in Jerusalem, New York, Calgary, London, and Montreal. She has a Ph.D. from New York University and teaches literature at Concordia’s Liberal Arts College in Montreal, where she lives with her family. Her first novel, Arabic for Beginners (LLP, 2017), was shortlisted for the QWF Concordia University First Book Prize. A Joy to be Hidden is her second novel.
- While her protagonist Alice Stein is likeable, it is Ms. Freedman’s intimate description of a corner of New York City in the late 90s that makes "A Joy to be Hidden" a real joy to read. If you could judge how much I savoured a book from the number of pages I have bookmarked, then "A Joy to Be Hidden" ranks high on the all-time list here at The Miramichi Reader. My first bookmark appears just four pages in. - The Miramichi Reader Link to review
- In classical mythology, Persephone is forcefully separated from her mother and taken to the underworld. She is eventually able to return, but the reunion is incomplete: Persephone must forever spend a portion of time hidden away, moving through a cycle of appearance and disappearance tied to the seasons. Through both indirect and direct reference, this myth infuses Ariela Freedman’s novel "A Joy to Be Hidden," where secrets, loss, and separated family members interweave through multiple plot lines. The novel’s epigraph quotes D. W. Winnicott’s caution that “It is a joy to be hidden, and a disaster not to be found,” but the allusion suggests a grimmer inevitability: that what has been hidden can, at best, only ever be partially recovered. - Danielle Barclay, Montreal Review of Books Link to review
Rights Holder: Linda Leith Publishing
rights available: World
number of pages: 278
publication date: 03/19/2019
Original language of pub: English
Materials Available: finished book