Hill, Robert 1959–
Hill, Robert 1959–
(Robert Scott Hill)
Education: Boston University, B.A.
Home—Portland, OR. E-mail—[email protected]
Writer. Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, teaching fellow; worked variously as an advertising copywriter, children's education software creator, and a grant writer.
Oregon Literary Arts Walt Morey fellow, 2006.
When All Is Said and Done, Graywolf Press (Saint Paul, MN), 2006.
After growing up in Westport, Connecticut, Robert Hill graduated from Boston University with a bachelor of arts degree in literature. He subsequently moved to Portland, Oregon, where he makes a living as a writer. Hill has served as a teaching fellow at the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, and has also worked variously as an advertising copywriter, children's education software creator, and a grant writer. He often provides his writing services to not-for-profit organizations. In 2006 he was named an Oregon Literary Arts Walt Morey fellow for a novel he was writing at the time.
Hill published this novel, When All Is Said and Done, later in 2006. The novel centers around the marriage of Myrmy and Dan in 1960s New York. The Jewish couple is struggling to survive after she discourages Dan to join the U.S. military campaign in Korea. Myrmy, instead gets a job in advertising copywriting for a shampoo company to support the family while Dan takes care of the house and sells ties on the side.
Lisa Diane Kastner, interviewing Hill on the Northern Suburb Library System Web site, summarized the novel by saying that it "isn't a sexy, exciting novel. It's a novel about the long haul of marriage. That in itself may not be singular, but the very high quality of the prose is. Robert Hill writes in a style that verges on stream-of-consciousness, yet is never selfconsciously literary. Never does the reader feel the need to struggle to understand what's happening in this book. It's all crystal clear, yet the style manages to achieve such an impressively high literary standard. Truly amazing in a new author, and if Hill continues to write this well I anticipate him potentially becoming a real force to be reckoned with."
Booklist contributor Donna Seaman remarked that the author penned the novel "with velocity, rhythm, and wit." Seaman added that Hill's writing style allows him to show a range of "emotions and social nuance in brilliantly syncopated inner monologues and staccato dialogue." A contributor to Publishers Weekly described When All Is Said and Done as "a tightly crafted, emotionally resonant debut." The same contributor mentioned that Hill "nimbly salvages one family's striving from an era of grasping and consumerism." Nell Beram, writing in the Harvard Review, commented that Hill's debut "is slightly less a comic novel than a meditation on a fictional marriage. The storyline can't be said to be gripping, and some readers will find more to admire than like about the book. For others, it will be a revelation." Beram suggested that if the novel "has a higher purpose, it's a feminine one," pointing out the unique role Myrmy plays in the story. Beram observed that "Hill, an unrepentant stylist, is as attuned to the mundane … as he is attentive to the dire."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 1, 2006, Donna Seaman, review of When All Is Said and Done, p. 65.
Harvard Review, June, 2007, Nell Beram, review of When All Is Said and Done, p. 178.
Publishers Weekly, February 6, 2006, review of When All Is Said and Done, p. 42.
Virginia Quarterly Review, September 22, 2006, Wade Edwards, review of When All Is Said and Done, p. 270.
Willamette Week (Portland, OR), April 12, 2006, Lisa Hoashi, "Willamette Week's Guide to Wordstock."
Northern Suburb Library System Web site,http://www.nsls.info/ (September 13, 2006), Lisa Diane Kastner, author interview.
When All Is Said and Done Web site,http://www.whenallissaidanddone.com (April 15, 2008), author profile.