—KIRKUS—Starred Review

“Intelligent and without a false note—a memorable work.”
“Closely observed, Holden Caulfieldish story of teendom.”
“Eveline is bright, precocious.”
“The details are exactly right, down to the depressing air of a high-school hallway.”

Closely observed, Holden Caulfieldish story of teendom in Manhattan and its purlieus in the age of Me. Active in the film-festival business, Hamptons denizen Hamann self-published Anthropology in 2003 and immediately found a following, mostly among collegiates, selling approximately 5,000 copies in cloth. This much-revised version retains all the admirable qualities of the original but expands on aspects of the story line, giving protagonist Eveline Aster Auerbach plenty of room to move. Eveline is bright, precocious and a touch confused. It being the late 1970s, her family life is a touch confused as well, forcing some choices along the way—for instance, whether to prevaricate in order to keep the peace. "Lying is a full-time occupation," Eveline decides, "even if you tell just one, because once you tell it, you're stuck with it. If you want to do it right, you have to visualize it, conjure the graphics, tone, and sequence of action, then relate it purposefully in the midst of seemingly spontaneous dialogue." Eveline is a great explainer of things as they are, whence the "anthropology" of the title, and the ways of her tribe are sometimes strange indeed, with such things as date rape and drug use being as common as coffee. The details are exactly right, down to the depressing air of a high-school hallway. Life forces its lessons on Eveline constantly; she finds herself confronting illness, death, grief, myriad fears and worries, and there's always a heightened awareness of sex and sexuality, of the power of her body to gain what she wants and to betray her. Intelligent and without a false note—a memorable work.

http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/fiction/hilary-thayer-hamann/anthropology-of-an-american-girl/

 

—KIRKUS FALL PREVIEW

“Buffeted by a series of trying life events, Hamann’s 20th-century American girl movingly reckons with the relational forces within and love interests surrounding her.”
“Eveline [is] a spirited, searching protagonist.”
“Provocative love story.”

Hilary Thayer Hamann’s first novel, starring Eveline, a spirited, searching protagonist from East Hampton who painfully comes of age in 1980s Manhattan, is now discovering its second life in the hands of a mainstream publisher. Hamann originally self-published the novel in 2003 via the small arts press she founded with her then-husband to produce “short-run, beautiful books.” The author says that even after her publishing venture failed, this provocative love story drew enough critical attention to prompt her to resurrect and retool the work, which Kirkus called “intelligent and without a false note.” Hamann feels fortunate Spiegel & Grau recognized that “there was a place for a longer, more observational treatment of a young woman’s development,” noting that she strove to “examine what happened to the idealism of the 1960s and 1970s” and pick apart how “it all sort of vanished,” while exploring a “predigital landscape, when destinies were shaped by beautiful inconveniences.” Buffeted by a series of trying life events, Hamann’s 20th-century American girl movingly reckons with the relational forces within and love interests surrounding her. Eveline “has to come to terms not with what she has or doesn’t have,” says Hamann. “But with who she is.”

http://www.kirkusreviews.com/static/files/Fall_Preview.pdf

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