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Hiding Out

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  238 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Hiding Out is a collection of hilarious, sparkling stories about people avoiding the consequences of their poor decisions. A jilted lover dresses as a robot to win back the heart of an ex-girlfriend. A man builds a time machine to embrace the identity he always denied. Playful and empathic, these misadventures feature lonely hearts failing terribly to make a connection.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 1st 2007 by Featherproof Books (first published January 1st 2007)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  238 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Simon A.
The publishing of this book is an occasion to celebrate. There are many wonderfully sincere, humbling moments in each of these stories. Many of them involve characters stuck in dream worlds filled with obstacles they struggle to overcome during waking life. Rich, seductive things happen to these characters, magical things, moments charged with wonder and compassion, originality and most notably, honesty.

Perhaps the greatest achievement here is the balancing act Messinger manages to pull off. He'
Feb 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: usa, 2008
In his disparaging late-1950's book about Chicago, "The Second City," New York journalist AJ Liebling notes that the only Chicago author worth his salt that had not fled the city was Nelson Algren. The comment has enlivened what Liebling would consider to be my Chicagoan inferiority complex, and has me defensively running around reading as many Chicago authors as I can find. In the after-life, I will confront Mr. Liebling. "James T. Farrell may have gone to New York," I will say, "but Joe Meno s ...more
Roy Kesey
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Strong all the way through, dark and smart and lonely. Best of all is “Bicycle Kick,” which has a passage I love so much I want to kiss it on the mouth:


“So there are no ill effects?” I asked.

“Well, as I said, you could die.”

I looked him in the eye, my one good eye flicking back and forth between the two of his.

“So, if you had to give me odds for living another forty years, say until I was seventy, what would the odds be?”

“I’m not very good at that sort of thing.”

“Ten to one? One hundred to on
May 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Good and odd short fiction. I really, really enjoyed the fact that every bit of this book had story elements to it...the colophon page, the about the author, the catalog. Great actualization of using the entirety of the book (okay almost the entirety) to create dialogue. The stories were fast, funny and often moving in an unexpectedly relateable way.
Eugenia Williamson
Sep 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Great stories, and the illustrations are flawless.
Feb 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I really liked the cover. The stories were good, too.
Apr 10, 2008 rated it it was ok
Messinger is cute. and clever. I'll give him that. But in a lot of the stories, he relied on that cuteness too much. I'm not saying the characters aren't realistic (in his his stories at leas that are TRYING to be realistic), or that often his descriptive language isn't fresh. It's just that, at the end of the day, or rather, by the last line, few of the stories here add up to much more than what they were: a way to pass the time in a train station in china. Which there are far worse things to r ...more
Kevin Sterne
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So very very good
MacKenzie Abernethy
Jun 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: year2010
Perfect for fifteen minute in-between-whatever reads, Hiding Out had me cracking up in inappropriate places.

I immensely enjoyed two storied in particular: Bicycle Kick and Not Even the Zookeeper can Keep Control.

Bicycle Kick opens with a kick in the face. Upon being rushed to the ER, the main character finds out that the-foot-to-his-face has left only black eye, but his cat scan reviled two previously present head aneurysms side by side. While the average aneurysm could be removed by a simple p
Jan 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Although I immediately recognized this as "good" writing and a "solid" collection, it took me the first few stories to really feel immersed. And then I realized what the problem was with this book I was supposed to like; no, love much more than I was: I had entered the secret world of boys, unfamiliar territory to be sure. No wonder I felt two steps removed...

But then, but then! The most amazing thing happened. I began to understand, to hang on every word and nuance. See, now I know secrets. Boy
Dec 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: we-published-it
[A] striking debut...reading his succinct stories is as natural as breathing. But like the quick, fool-the-eye, knock-you-flat moves of kung fu (a recurrent theme), these tales of lonely, brooding, sweetly romantic guys pack covert and concentrated power.—Chicago Tribune

Messinger’s stories are aching, not bleak, and the collection, wittily and expressively illustrated with Rob Funderburk’s line drawings, is fun, engaging, and a bit more than thought-provoking. A fresh, spot-on debut.—Mark Eleve
Apr 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
I thought about giving this an extra star for the two stories included in the end, one as part of the about the author section and the other as the blurb about the book. Most of these stories are good to great, and they're actual stories with a plot and beginning, middle, and end, unlike a lot of stories that read as though you were just dropped in to the middle of some random episode or event. But there were still one or two clunkers in here. Overall, though, they were well-written and interest ...more
Jun 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is going to be good... I was right. It was good, amazing even. The collection both starts and ends with strong, heartrending stories. And all the ones in between are just as good. My favorites are probably "Bicycle Kick" and "True Hero," but all of them made me smile and sometimes laugh out loud and more than a few made me feel a little pang of sadness for the characters and the situations they found themselves in. Several I've read more than once and I'm sure I'll be revisiting many more o ...more
Feb 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Here's a funny story: I bought this book on a whim, admittedly drawn in both by the synopses and the accompanying art, and I decided I'd only read it on the plane to China. I didn't finish it then, put it away for maybe a year and started reading it on the plane to Japan. Finished it now of course. It was bizarre, but somehow relatable. The way it was broken up was just enough to satisfy yet leave you wanting a bit more. Will probably read again at some point.
Melanie Page
Jan 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'd give it a 4.5! At first the stories seemed familiar of every quirky short story collection I've read recently, but the further along I went, they became unique and resonated with a voice clearly Messinger's own. Cool :)

I also just love featherproof books and their concepts of what the book should be.
Nov 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Dreamers and Deceivers
This is an excellent collection of short stories from the Time Out book review editor. Hiding Out is real people: petty and profound, hip and hilarious. If you want to hear me express myself a bit better on this subject, see my review at
Jan 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in a few short hours. Each story is devastating in some way, and I actually copied a few passages down because I liked them so much. I loved how each story seems to end with a sense of transition, and I found all of the men very relatable and lovable, even with their flaws. Highly recommend!
Jun 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
co-founder of featherweight press and other impressive accolades, author jonathan messinger wrote this collection, male or female he "gets it"...what it feels like to want to hide and also want to be found at the same time
Nov 28, 2007 rated it liked it
The title story is pure gold. The book is worth it for that one alone. The rest of them felt a little all over the place to me, but it's ok: that just means Messinger's only going to keep getting better, and more consistently better.
Oct 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
Some stories made me laugh outloud, others made me cringe a little and one (the wolf attack story) made me scratch my head and go "huh, that was a weird one."

Very enjoyable. Kudos Johnathon. Hope the book tour went well!
Oct 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Chicagoins
A solid collection of short stories. They're incredibly Chicagoland centric, down to earth and just a little quirky. And I felt the collection got better towards the end (Winged Attack, Christmas Spirit and Scream in the Dark were all really great).
Jan 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
I am in smit with these stories. Review to come at

This definitely beats Aksyonov so far-- bravo!
Oct 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This book is beautiful and strange and made me want to use language in entirely new ways. The amazing drawings that accompany it and the aesthetic of the book are also gorgeous
Oct 27, 2007 marked it as to-read
I'm looking forward to this one. Anybody else familiar with it? Seems like this guy is an up-and-comer. I'm always interested in new Chicago authors.
Jun 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
A collection of odd short stories, some better than others, but overall very entertaining. If you enjoy short stories, give this book a try.
Oct 16, 2010 rated it liked it
Enjoyable stories of male adolescents, teenagers and adults who never quite grew up. Messinger writes with heart, but I wish there was more grit to make it feel more real.
Jan 04, 2008 rated it liked it
This is an uneven collection, but with a few gems mixed in. The cover art and the line drawings, on their own, are worth the price of admission.
Oct 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
"Bicycle Kick" was my favorite story.
Mar 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Short stories, local author, people in various stages of remove from life. Also, I actually read the whole thing.
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Co-publisher of Featherproof Books, books editor of Time Out Chicago, founder of The Dollar Store Show, Boston native, Chicago dweller. Don't trust anyone with more friends than books.
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“To break the silence the old man said the first thing that came to his mind: "Loneliness is a type of violence.” 15 likes
“How could you love something so destructive?" I ask.
"Because this wolf doesn't care if your heart is whole or not," you say. "It tastes just the same.”
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