Picky Hunting: A Journal of the Plague Year finds Picky Hunting, a retired Jewish psychoanalyst with a strong background in English Literature (B.A. and M.A. from the University of Chicago) and a recent widow, fleeing the Chicago area where she’s lived all her life, to resettle in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She hopes to find solace in nature, study Indigenous culture, write, pursue photography, and may even develop a new love interest. Within six months of her arrival, however, the march of His Evil Majesty COVID XIX through the world forces a lockdown in her adopted state. Just beginning to make friends, join a NewComers Club, travel, discover superb cuisine, enjoy musical concerts, and respond to online dating postings, the forced isolation suddenly blunts her drive toward new experiences and companionship. Her loneliness is abated to some extent by her two Black & White scotch label-looking dogs. Soon, Picky sees an opportunity. Inspired by Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year (1722), Katherine Anne Porter’s Pale Horse, Pale Rider (1939), and Albert Camus’ The Plague (1947), Picky decides to hone her writing skills by daily tracking her life during the terrible reigns of “COVID XIX” and President Donald “Immanent Baboon” Trump. Throughout, Picky is haunted by the death of her husband (suicide or murder?), by his memory and continuing influence. Can she move past her past and open herself to love again?
About the Author
James Hugunin teaches the History of Photography and Contemporary Theory at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is the author of four experimental novels (the first of which critic/writer Derek Pell called "the best experimental novel of 2012"), two books of art criticism/theory, and numerous artist books. He is the founder and editor of two art journals, The Dumb Ox (1976-80) and U-Turn (1982-present). In 1983, he won the first Reva and David Logan Award for Distinguished New Writing in Photography from the N.E.A. and The Photographic Resource Center, Boston, MA. He is the author of Wreck & Ruin: Photography, Temporality, and World (Dis)order (2013) and Writing Pictures: Case Studies in Photographic Criticism 1983- 2012 (2013), as well as the novels Elder Physics: The Wrong of Time: Stories from an Elder Home (2013), Something is Crook in Middlebrook (2012), Tar Spackled Banner (2014), Case X (2015), Afterimage: Critical Essays on Photography (2016), Q_A: An Auto-Interview (2017), Finding Mememo: A Book in Search of an Author (2019) and Picky Hunting: A Journal of the Plague Year (2021), all published by JEF Books (The Journal of Experimental Fiction).