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Who Occupies This House



Kathleen Hill s finely wrought novel tells the story of four generations of an Irish-American family that has lived in the same house for almost a century. Grieving the death of her mother and the imminent sale of the house, the narrator sets out to re-create the hidden, intimate lives of those who came before. Through a series of vignettes she conjures a family devastated in each generation by the loss of a child.

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The narrator s project, inspired at the outset by silences that extend backward to the untold story of the Famine, turns into a vast exploration of loss, inheritance, and the nature of memory. In a voice both stark and lyrical, the narrator calls up transformative, often tragic, moments in lives that have shaped her own. Remembering a past she never knew, she hopes to release from its sway the vanishing present.

Who Occupies This House is a strikingly beautiful account of the difficult reckoning with one s family legacy that every adult faces. Punctuated by photographs and images that bring the narrative into sharp focus, it will draw comparisons to such divergent writers as W.G. Sebald and Kate O Brien.


Kathleen Hill is that rare writer who possesses not only talent and imagi-nation, but also discipline and determination to see her work through to a thing well made, a piece of sober and impressive fiction. Inkwell is happy to print this set of insights into the mind of a writer we admire for a career of enduring achievement, a prose artist of exceptionally warm and affecting novels and stories.

Kathleen began writing when her daughters were in high school and now, some twenty years later, all of her work has been published. Two of her first stories appeared in the Hudson Review (26, 3 and 40, 1), and her first novel, Still Waters in Niger (TriQuarterly Books, Northwestern University Press, 1999) was among the Notable Books of the Year in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune. It was also nominated for the International Dublin Literary IMPAC Award. Its French translation was short listed for the Prix Femina Etranger. Her next two pieces appeared in the Yale Review (86, 3) and the Michigan Quarterly Review (37, 1). “The Anointed,” which first appeared in DoubleTake (5, 4) was anthologized in Best American Short Stories 2000, Pushcart Prize XXV, and The Pushcart Book of Short Stories, the 25-year anni-versary anthology. She earned a B.A. from Manhattanville College, an M.A. from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. She currently teaches in the Writing Program at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in New York City.

Kathleen Hill teaches in the M.F.A. program at Sarah Lawrence College. Her novel Still Waters in Niger was named a notable book by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and was nominated for the Dublin IMPAC Award. The French translation, Eaux Tranquilles, was short-listed for the Prix Femina Étranger. Her stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize XXV, and The Pushcart Book of Short Stories.