Alice Stein, a young graduate student living in a vivid and chaotic late-90s East Village, loses her father and grandmother in a single year and is given the task of cleaning out her grandmother's Brooklyn apartment. In the process of doing so, she begins to unlock a family secret. Accompanied by her precocious downstairs neighbour, a twelve-year-old girl named Persephone, she sets out on a quest to understand her family and herself. In the process, she will discover lost children and buried love affairs, histories she wants to believe and people she can't trust, a village in Hungary and an artist's loft in Harlem.
A coming-of-age story about hidden pasts and the legacy of trauma and displacement, A Joy To Be Hidden is told with humour and insight. 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 everyone.
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