It’s the late 1990’s and Alice Stein is a grad student in New York City. Her father died the previous year, leaving her mother with 8-year-old twins to raise. Alice is in charge of looking in on her dying grandmother, and then is first, after the thieving caregiver, to sort through her grandmother’s apartment after her death. There, Alice discovers a purse with a hidden compartment. As she struggles to study, write, teach, take care of the little girl from downstairs, and figure out her grandmother’s secrets, Alice uncovers layers of secrets about herself, her family, and everyone around her.
Ariela Freedman was born in Brooklyn and has lived in Jerusalem, New York, Calgary, London, and Montreal. Her reviews and poems have appeared in Vallum, carte blanche, The Cincinnati Review and other publications, and she was selected to participate in the Quebec Writers’ Federation’s 2014 Mentorship Program. She has a PhD from New York University and has published articles on Mary Borden, James Joyce, First World war literature, and postcolonial theory. Freedman’s book Death, Men, and Modernism appeared in 2003. Her first novel, Arabic for Beginners (LLP, 2017), was shortlisted for the QWF Concordia University First Book Prize and is the Winner of the 2018 J. I. Segal Prize for Fiction. A Joy to be Hidden (Linda Leith Publishing, 2019) is her second novel.