Amina Memory Cain

I Go To Some Hollow, 2009 from Les Figues Press (cover art by Ken Ehrlich & Susan Simpson), with an introduction by Bhanu Kapil (Out of Print). A Spanish translation is forthcoming from Paloma Ediciones

Question: “If you had to think of a motion you’ve made more than any other in your whole life, what would it be?” Response: “I don’t want to be a motion.”

In her debut collection of fifteen short stories, Amina Cain makes ordinary worlds strange and spare and beautiful. A woman carves invisible images onto ice, a pair of black wings appears in front of a house, and a restless teacher sits in a gallery of miniature rooms.

“Neurologically, touching and being touched, whether that’s brushing up against some kind of stalk-like, goldeny things in a tundra or being politely nudged into the back-seat of a Buick Le Sabre, is how a body locates itself in the softest kind of time. For bodies that have experienced a proprioceptive disturbance, touch thus becomes a way of re-building the nervous system. I’m fascinated by the way Cain does this–builds a nervous system–as an act of narrative. For example, when a person, in the deep part of her book, is at their most vulnerable, blurting out banal things to the person they are desperately, secretly in love with and then saying things in their head like “you stupid bloody idiot, why, why, why did you say that?” or somehow stumbling into a forested area above a busy road, on a day when everything else has totally gone to shit they are, by deep chance, met. Something comes towards them and doesn’t go away.” Bhanu Kapil


I Go To Some Hollow floats and tilts, as balanced as a mobile; rather than narrative arcs we get laps, tides, and circuit, currents of clear observation and the occasional stunning insight.” Miranda Mellis, Rain Taxi Review of Books

“In this debut collection, the dominant mood is [a] 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.” Kate Zambreno, The Believer

“There’s something calmly erotic about Cain’s writing, a treatment of sex as both a source of energy and a supremely unfascinating part of life.” Jonathan Messinger, Time Out Chicago

“Don’t be surprised if you’re carrying this book around with you for a while.  It has a way of wanting to accompany your own daily rituals.  It has a way of expecting something from you.” Jacquelyn Davis, Bookslut

“Cain’s debut demonstrates that when the clichéd expectations of traditional narrative are gently omitted, what’s left is a calming stillness, and startling language—a welcome relief from the ironic realism that characterizes so much young contemporary fiction.  We need more writing like this.” A D Jameson, The Review of Contemporary Fiction

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