Six years after her attack, Maggie Wilson receives a call from the prosecutor who put her husband in jail after Maggie identified him as the man who nearly killed her. Told that another inmate has confessed to the crime and that her ex-husband will be freed, Maggie plunges into memories of her stormy marriage to her college sweetheart, Nate Duke. Secluded in the old farmhouse that was her marital home, Maggie pores through trial transcripts, old journals, and photo albums, recreating the history of their courtship and trying fruitlessly to remember the events of that fateful night.
Reader's Group Guide for Hidden 1) What are Maggie's main characteristics? How does her personality differ between the time before the attack and after? 2) Describe Nathan and Maggie's relationship both before and after their marriage. Do you feel that theirs is an equal partnership? What affect does life in her new home have on Maggie? 3) Why does Maggie return to the house where her attack took place? What are her main reasons for retrieving all the documents pertaining to the case? 4) Describe Carson and Maggie's relationship. What are Carson's feelings toward Maggie and are they truly reciprocated? Why do you think Maggie begins seeing him outside of work? 5) Both Nate and Maggie change significantly throughout their marriage. What are the major changes? How do these changes affect their marriage? What causes them to take the actions they do? What is your overall opinion of Nate? 6) What do you think are Maggie's main reasons for returning home after leaving spontaneously? What does her decision reveal about her character and state of mind? 7) Discuss Ben Hodge's character. How does the inclusion of both his background and his version of the attack on Maggie affect her? Why does he become obsessed with Maggie? Does his confession change your view of Nate? 8) Describe the character of Dick Duke. How does Maggie feel about him? What kind of relationship does he share with his son? 9) What is the nature of Manny and Maggie's relationship? Why do you think he invites her to drive cross country with him? 10) During the summer of 2002, Maggie experiences a transformation of sorts. What happens to her, psychologically and emotionally? What is the significance of the paintings she creates? What prompts Maggie to finally leave the house and the confines of the town? 11) Memory is an ever present theme throughout the novel. Discuss how memory plays an integral role in Maggie's story. In what ways does memory affect the characters in the novel? 12) What is the significance of the title Hidden?
Raised in Indiana, Paul Jaskunas took degrees at Oberlin College and Cornell University. A recent recipient of a Fulbright fellowship and grant from the Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, he has written for The Chicago Tribune, The American Lawyer, Commonweal, and other publications. Mr. Jaskunas lives in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife, Solveiga. This is his first novel.
"Hidden is not really like anything you've read before. It's no small feat for a male novelist to write in the first person voice of a female protagonist, but Paul Jaskunas has it down completely, no hint of a stutter or misstep. Ostensibly a book about a crime, it is really about the universal mystery of identity." -- Anna Quindlen, Book-of-the-Month Club News
"Hidden provides both the racing pulse pleasure of a thriller and the quieter deep waters of character-driven fiction." -- The Washington Post Book World
"Jaskunas creates a hauntingly intricate weave of events in his first novel, which has the quality of a fever dream....As much as Hidden is a novel of suspense, it is also an elegant exploration of vulnerability when it's seeded by guilt and loss." -- New York Daily News