A review of

I Go To Some Hollow

by Amina Cain

Central question: Can you show me the limit of this body?
Format: 112 pp., paperback; Size: 9 ¼" x 4 ¼"; Price: $15.00; Publisher: Les Figues Press; Editors: Teresa Carmody and Vanessa Place; Print run: 1,000; Cover design: Teresa Carmody; Typeface: Optima; About Les Figues: Currently run out of a large basement in the West Adams neighborhood of L.A., that also houses Kathy Acker’s desk (with a photo of Jean Genet taped to it); About the series: published as part of Les Figues’s TrenchArt Series, an annual curated series of texts; Representative line: “I wanted to find something I could pull apart lightly, stitch by stitch, so that it looked like a new thing when I was finished.”

The surrealist concept of dépaysement refers to an induced displacement and disorientation, of seeing the world anew. In this debut collection, the dominant mood is this sense of wonder, shot through with nervousness. Amina Cain’s travelers view their surroundings with a curious emptiness, other times ecstasy, while adrift either abroad or in a distinctly American terrain: bodies of water, fields, or forests, the banality of a heated pool or the aisles of Home Depot.

Her characters are reminiscent of Jane Bowles’s Mrs. Copperfield, lost and stumbling through Panama City in Two Serious Ladies, watching and pondering. The title of the collection’s best story, “A Body Walking Through Space,” best describes this odd detachment. Cain’s characters are uncomfortable bodies who exist and meditate in the strangeness of space. It is fitting that one of her characters is a dancer—it is the awkward, lingering dance between bodies in space, the ambiguous gesture or glance, that best distinguishes Cain’s fiction.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

To read the full piece, please visit our store to purchase a copy of the magazine.

—Kate Zambreno

Kate Zambreno’s first novel, O Fallen Angel, won Chiasmus Press’s 2008 First Book Contest. She has also finished a novel, Green Girl, and a work of creative nonfiction, Book of Mutter.

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