HOUSE OF GOOD HOPE: A PROMISE FOR A BROKEN CITY combines reportage and memoir to tells the true story of five young men who met as high school athletes and who as a group pledged their lives to Hartford, Connecticut, promising to bring college degrees home and to live and work in their broken city. It won the River Teeth Prize for Literary Nonfiction and was a finalist for both the Saroyan Prize and the Connecticut Book Award in Biography and Memoir. It was published by the University of Nebraska Press.
The stories of the young protagonists involve murder, love, sacrifice, success at the highest levels of college football, marriage, birth and death, a beating at the hands of police, a drug-sting that fells a high school coach, and a final reunion of friends who have learned how hard it is to simultaneously love their city and live for the future. The book also traces the life of the author’s family through four generations as they live in and leave Hartford, abandoning the author’s ailing grandparents to a city that shows little mercy. The book explores essential questions: What happens to those we leave behind? How do we make peace with the past we have sacrificed? How do we make peace with ourselves when we can no longer help the places – the Hartfords – that we once called home?