In the prologue to his new book, Hidden Places: Maine Writers on Coastal Villages, Mill Towns, and the North Country, Joseph A. Conforti describes Maine as “New England's Alaska” (xi). Given Maine's thousands of miles of fractal coastline and its sparsely-populated interior encompassing 27,000 square miles, much of the state's literary fiction is set in out-of-the-way communities, some hidden in the sense of “hard to find on a map” and others “hidden” in the sense of requiring careful excavation to reveal their deeper significance.

Primarily intended for general readers, but meant to serve academics and teachers as well, Hidden Places is neither a critical study nor a comprehensive encyclopedia of Maine literature but a useful companion to the best of the state's place-based fiction. Conforti, founding director of the American and New England Studies program at the University...

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