Monday, March 15, 2010

The Hole We're In, by Gabrielle Zevin

Impossible to put down. Fantastically well-done look at the varied holes we climb in, climb out of, dig for ourselves, and find ourselves in. This searing family-dysfunction/credit-based-society-critique/study of religious fundamentalism left the earth pretty scorched, but breathing, bleeding believable characters kept me turning pages as fast as I could read.
Roger, trying to finish his PhD, leaves his wife Georgia to take care of family finances while he focuses on his dissertation- which he hopes will become a book that will save their family. Georgia, however, is struggling with his drop in income since he returned to school, and with the pressure to stage an elaborate back-yard wedding for oldest daughter Helen, who unthinkingly keeps increasing her wish-list (repaint the house, add a pond? professionally printed invitations, at the very least). Son Vinnie has already left Texas for New York, where his film school ambitions prove more costly than he could have known, and youngest daughter Patsy is left, in the cruelest twist, to bear the brunt of Roger and Georgia's failings, and she is essentially cast out of the family to serve as a sacrificial lamb. Patsy, however, is a powerful and strong character, and one of the best characters I've read all year.
This was really seriously good fiction. So impressed.

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