Self-published in 2003, Hilary Thayer Hamann's Anthropology of an American Girl touched a nerve among readers, who identified with this coming-of-age story about a young woman on the brink of adulthood. A moving depiction of the transformative power of first love, Hamann's first novel follows Eveline Auerbach from her high school years in East Hampton, New York, in the 1970s through her early adulthood in the moneyed, high-pressured Manhattan of the 1980s.
Newly edited and revised since its original publication, Anthropology of an American Girl is truly an extraordinary piece of writing, original in its vision and thrilling in its execution.
“Remember what it feels like to be seventeen? Eveline Auerbach sounds like somebody many of us knew—or were. . . . A realistic, resonant, and universal story.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“As vast and ambitious as the country itself.”—Carolyn See, The Washington Post
“If publishers could figure out a way to turn crack into a book, it’d read a lot like [Anthropology of an American Girl]. Hamann’s debut traces the sensual, passionate, and lonely interior of a young woman artist growing up in windswept East Hampton at the end of the 1970s. . . . A marvelously complex and tragic figure of disconnection, startlingly real and exposed at all times.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“[A] page-turning read [that] rivets through a rawness of complex emotion . . . Like Jane Austin, George Eliot or Edith Wharton, [Hamann] critiques her era and culture through the tale of a precocious young woman buffeted by the accidents, values and consequences of her age.”—Providence Journal-Bulletin
“Utterly original . . . a rare kind of novel—at once sprawling and intimate—whose excellence matches its grand ambition.”—The Dallas Morning News
“[A] serious descendant of the work of D. H. Lawrence.”—The Washington Post
Hilary Thayer Hamann was born and raised in New York. After her parents divorced, she was shuttled between their respective homes in the Hamptons and the Bronx. She attended New York University, where she received a B.F.A. in Film & Television Production and Dramatic Writing from Tisch School of the Arts, an M.A. in Cinema Studies from the Graduate School of Arts and Science, and a Certificate in Anthropological Filmmaking from NYU’s Center for Media, Culture, and History.
Ms. Hamann edited and contributed to Categories—On The Beauty of Physics (2006), an interdisciplinary educational book that was included in Louisiana State University’s list of top 25 non-fiction books written since 1950.
As the assistant to Jacques d’Amboise, founder and artistic director of the National Dance Institute, Ms. Hamann produced We Real Cool, a short film based on the Gwendolyn Brooks poem, directed by Academy Award-winning director Emile Ardolino. She also coordinated an international exchange with students from America and the then Soviet Union based on literature, music, and art. She has worked in New York’s film, publishing, and entertainment industries, and is co-director of Films on the Haywall, a classic film series in Bridgehampton, New York.
Ms. Hamann lives in Manhattan and on Long Island.