The Hole We're in

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

Publication Date: March 2010

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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

From an award-winning screenwriter and author comes this bold, timeless, yet all-too-timely novel about a troubled American family trying to navigate an even more troubled America.

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

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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 relatable—come 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 justice—it’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 Eden—where 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-fearing—there 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

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