The Hole We're in

By Gabrielle Zevin
Grove Press, Black Cat, Paperback, 9780802119230, 283pp.

Publication Date: March 2010

List Price: $14.00*
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the March 2010 Indie Next List
“The Pomeroys are your normal American family, religious, heavily in debt, lacking communication skills, and tempted by your garden variety of carnal sins, with a side order of pride. Patriarch Roger has left his school job to get a doctorate in education, leaving his wife to cover up his debt. Zevin plays around with structure, juggling perspective among the family members, and she packs the story with a full platter of issues, from abortion to race to veteran's issues and, of course, religious intolerance. The sins of the father (and mother) play out over two generations, in a manner that had me alternately sad and hopeful.”
— Daniel Goldin, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI
Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Summer '10 Reading Group List
“The Pomeroys are your normal American family, heavily in debt, lacking communication skills, and tempted by your garden variety of carnal sins, with a side order of pride. They're also Sabbath Day Adventists, a Christian sect that shuns movies, meat, and the military (clever of Zevin to construct a band of Evangelicals just different enough so that nobody feels picked upon). Patriarch Roger has left his school job to get a doctorate in education, leaving his wife Georgia to cover up his debt. Zevin plays around with structure, juggling perspective at first and then honing in on one character. She packs the story with a full platter of issues, from abortion to race to veteran's issues, and, of course, religious intolerance. The sins of the father (and mother) play out over two generations, in a manner that had me alternately sad and hopeful.”
— Daniel Goldin, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI


Description
With "The Hole We re In"a bold, timeless, yet all too timely novel about a troubled American family navigating an even more troubled Americaaward-winning author and screenwriter, Gabrielle Zevin, delivers a work that places her in the ranks of our shrewdest social observers and top literary talents. Meet the Pomeroys: a church-going family living in a too-red house in a Texas college town. Roger, the patriarch, has impulsively gone back to school, only to find his future ambitions at odds with the temptations of the present. His wife, Georgia, tries to keep things afloat at home, but she's been feeding the bill drawer with unopened envelopes for months and never manages to confront its swelling contents. In an attempt to climb out of the holes they ve dug, Roger and Georgia make a series of choices that have catastrophic consequences for their three childrenespecially for Patsy, the youngest, who will spend most of her life fighting to overcome them. "The Hole We re In" shines a spotlight on some of the most relevant issues of today: over-reliance on credit, gender and class politics, and the war in Iraq. But it is Zevin's deft exploration of the fragile economy of family life that makes this a book for the ages.



About the Author
Gabrielle Zevin is the author of Elsewhere, Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, and Margarettown. She also writes screenplays.



Praise For The Hole We're in

Equal parts sharply funny and sobering, Zevin’s portrait of a family in financial free fall captures the zeitgeist.”People

Every day newspaper articles chronicle families battered by the recession, circling the drain in unemployment and debt or scraping by with minimum-wage jobs. But no novel has truly captured that struggle until now. . . . [Zevin’s characerts]flawed, devoted, cranky, impetuous, utterly relatablecome blazingly alive . . . [in this chronicle of] how a once-loving family reacts when times get bad.”Tina Jordan, Entertainment Weekly (A-)

In the provocative novel The Hole We’re In . . . Gabrielle Zevin follows the Pomeroy [family] from 1998 to 2022 and addresses such issues as abortion, racism, and the emotional fallout of a stress-filled economy. Yet somehow the novel feels generous: We identify with the Pomeroys’ troubles while we gasp at their casual brutality and marvel at [youngest daughter] Patsy, who journeys from oppressive Bible schools to military service in Iraq and, finally, to becoming a more loving mother than her own could have dreamed of being.”O, The Oprah Magazine

The Hole We’re In criticizes our rabid consumer culture, as well as the people who’ve bought into it without examining the actual or hidden costs. . . . Zevin’s writing is often surprisingly, if darkly, funny, thanks to her wry and astute cultural observations. . . . [Main character] Patsy is flawed like the rest of her family, but she also has complex thoughts and tries to live without hypocrisy . . . Zevin breathes real life into this tough-girl vet, a heroine for our times, recognizable from life but new to fiction.”Malena Watrous, The New York Times Book Review

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what is so compelling about Gabrielle Zevin’s new novel. Merely summarizing the plot doesn’t do the book justiceit’s far more gripping than you’d expect from a family drama about the consequences of falling deeper and deeper into credit card debt. The real force of the novel, aside from Zevin’s elegant, no-words-wasted prose, comes from her complicated, multifaceted characters, who have an astonishing capacity for extremes of both generous and selfish behavior.”Bookpage

"The Hole We're In is a story of financial lives, and it makes plain that the financial life of a family is just as important as, if not more important than, its religious life. Even more surprising: It's just as compelling as a novel that is primarily concerned with the emotional life of an American family. The Hole We're In feels current, like fresh journalism, a mirror held to modern times."Paul Constant, The Stranger

A sharp, funny, and timely look at a debt-ridden, God-fearing American family. . . . Zevin skewers a host of social issues from religious zealotry to the consequences of war to the entitlement mind-set of average Americans. What makes her book more than just a satire, though, is the deft way she thoroughly humanizes her characters. Readers will relate to and be moved by a beleaguered family’s attempts to climb out of debt and dysfunction.”Booklist

Blazing . . . Sharp . . . The Corrections for our recessionary times. . . . [Zevin] establishes herself as an astute chronicler of the way we spend now.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

An unforgettable novel about flawed characters desperate to get back to the garden of an idealized American Edenwhere debts are forgiven, family secrets remain buried, everyone gets a good credit rating and a higher education, and spiritual redemption can be achieved with a new coat of paint.”Stephanie Kallos, author of Broken For You and Sing Them Home

Gabrielle Zevin’s sentences burst like fireworks off the page. Smart, sassy, and wise, The Hole We’re In is a delightful treat.”Amanda Eyre Ward, author of How To Be Lost and Love Stories in this Town

An unflinching depiction of an All-American family. Hypocritical, debt-ridden, God-fearingthere might not be much to admire about Zevin's characters, but there is much to love about them. The Hole We're In is a compelling read, and a true and honest novel.”Binnie Kirshenbaum, author of The Scenic Route




NPR
Sunday, Mar 7, 2010

In Gabrielle Zevin's novel The Hole We're In, the Pomeroy family is in money trouble, and every move seems to make things worse. Zevin's characters may seem like monsters, but the author says they're just trying to do their best under difficult circumstances. More at NPR.org

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