I am beyond delighted to share the news about a new e-publication with The Massachusetts Review’s Working Titles series! – Jen
“Groping hands have been in the news a lot lately: Unhand me, Sir! Hands off! Keep your mitts to yourself, buster. These hands are mostly predatory, and mostly male. Jen Cross writes about a young woman, Tüz, who lives in a village dystopia where the focus is on female hands and the dangers they’re thought to represent.”
–-Elizabeth Harries, from the Introduction to Night Hands
a story by Jen Cross
with an introduction by Elizabeth Harries
In Night Hands Jen Cross creates a dystopian world in which women’s hands are the focus of social organization and gendered oppression. Exploring themes of agency, sexual liberation, and domestic violence, Cross weaves together fantasy and realism in a strikingly modern fairy tale. Cross’s originality in both plot and form marks Night Hands as unique and enduring.
“It had been Tüz’s eldest sister, Talia, who first explained that she would lose her hands. Tüz had been horrified, but her sister explained to her that this was the difference between little girls and women. ‘You don’t want to stay a little girl, do you?’
“Tüz had shaken her head. ‘But how does he do it?’
“Her sister reluctantly revealed the pale pink opening at the base of her wrist, then she took her little sister’s hand in hers and, with a fingernail, traced in a line around the child’s wrist. ‘Yours will be here,’ Talia said.”
Jen Cross is the author of Writing Ourselves Whole: Using the Power of Your Own Creativity to Recover and Heal from Sexual Trauma, and the co-editor of Sex Still Spoken Here: An Erotic Reading Circle Anthology. Jen’s fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in over 50 anthologies and periodicals. Jen has facilitated sexuality and sexual trauma survivors writing workshops for over fifteen years, has worked with hundreds of writers, through private workshops and in collaboration with colleges, social change organizations, and other institutions in the San Francisco Bay Area and around the U.S. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and an MA in Transformative Language Arts from Goddard College, and has been awarded residencies at Hedgebrook and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Art Center.
Elizabeth Harries taught English and Comparative Literature at Smith College until her retirement. Her book Twice Upon a Time: Women Writers and the History of the Fairy Tale attempts to redefine the history of the fairy tale in Europe and its role in our present culture. She is currently working on a study of narrative framing.