Kaufman's Hill (Bancroft Press)
A profound and intensely moving boyhood memoir, Kaufman's Hill opens with a prosaic neighborhood scene: The author and some other young boys are playing by the creek, one of their usual stomping grounds. But it soon becomes clear that much more is going on; the boy-narrator is struggling to find his way in a middle-class Catholic neighborhood dominated by the Creely bullies, who often terrify him. It's the Pittsburgh of the early and mid-1960s, a threshold time just before the counter-culture arrives, and a time when suburban society begins to encroach on Kaufman's Hill, the boy's sanctuary and the setting of many of his adventures. As the hill and the 1950s vanish into the twilight, so does the world of the narrator's boyhood.
Praise for Kaufman's Hill
"Kaufman's Hill is among the most touching, sensitive, and spellbinding memoirs I've encountered in many years. Beautifully and exactly written, this book will surely reach into the hearts of its readers. I was deeply moved."--Tim O'Brien, author of The Things They Carried
“[Kaufman's Hill is] the best book on American boyhood in decades.”--Howard Zinn, author of People's History of the United States
"Kaufman's Hill is a vivid and unforgettable coming-of-age tale of boys and bullies on the edge of post-industrial America. Hampsey's haunting, lyrical world thrums with the dark, erratic rhythms that lie below the surface of our seemingly ordinary childhoods. He makes me remember mine differently, somehow." -- Ruth Ozeki, author of A Tale for the Time Being
"Hampsey has written a gem of a memoir. As powerful, poignant, funny and deeply moving as anything I've read since Russell Baker's masterpiece, Growing Up. Someone should make a movie of this."--Mark Mathabane, author of Kaffir Boy
John C. Hampsey is professor of Romantic and Classical Literature at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he has won the University Distinguished Teaching Award. Previously, he taught at Boston University and MIT. He received his BA from Holy Cross College and his PhD from Boston College. He is currently working on a novel—Soda Lake, an existential mystery mixed with interconnected imaginary portraits. During his career, Hampsey has had more than thirty stories and essays published in such places as The Gettysburg Review (four times), The Midwest Quarterly, Antioch Review, The Alaska Quarterly, The Boston Globe, Arizona Quarterly, European Romantic Review, Witness, Colby Quarterly, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and McNeese Review, among many others. His previous book Paranoia and Contentment: A Personal Essay on Western Thought was published by University of Virgina Press in 2005.