A novel of families, what tears them apart and what can bring them back together, A Hole in the Earth is an extraordinarily, sometimes excruciatingly accurate portrait of a man charting the foreign territory of his feelings. Henry Porter's summer begins when his daughter Nicole-whom he hasn't seen in five years-shows up on his doorstep. Days later his girlfriend, Elizabeth, announces that she is pregnant. That Henry is speechless at these two events throws into sharp relief his emotional landscape, and this novel charts that landscape's exact contours. Anyone who has ever wondered what a man is saying when he isn't talking will find at least a large part of the answer here. Robert Bausch deciphers with perfect economy and unstinting honesty the code embodied in this man's (and a great many men's) words and actions, and discovers there the world of family legacies, love, and abuse. A Hole in the Earth brilliantly draws the webs that attract us to and repel us from our families, as well as the enduring strength that they can provide.
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ROBERT BAUSCH is the author of five novels and a collection of short stories. His novel A Hole in the Earth was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year as well as a Washington Post Book World Favorite Book of the Year. He lives in Stafford, Virginia, and teaches literature and creative writing at Northern Virginia Community College.From Publishers Weekly:
If one of the purposes of literature is to illuminate human inconsistencies and frailties, failed attempts to communicate, and redemptive possibilities, this richly rewarding new novel by the author of Almighty Me wins stars in each category. On the verge of turning 40, narrator Henry Porter endures a summer in purgatory. The black sheep of his respected family, he is a grade school history teacher who augments his income by frequenting the race track, an obsession that exasperated his wife, who left him years ago, taking their young daughter, Nicole. Now 18, Nicole turns up on his doorstep in Washington, D.C., throwing Henry into a paroxysm of nervous guilt. Trying to reconcile his feelings of parental failure with his compulsion to bet on the horses, he can barely greet Nicole before he rushes off to make a daily double wager. Then, when his patient and understanding lover, fellow teacher Elizabeth Simmons, tells him she's pregnant, Henry can't cope. He is, indeed, emotionally stunted, trapped in an adolescent limbo caused, he believes, by the abiding disapproval of his father, a well-known judge. Afraid to make a decision, preferring to gamble and let fate decide rather than act decisively, Henry is blind to the implications of his behavior. He resists any suggestion that his gambling addiction might be pernicious. In a plot that develops its rising tension with seamless ease, Henry's lies and evasions catch up with him in a wrenching series of disasters, a nightmare than keeps unrolling until he reaches the nadir of his existence. With a delicacy and subtlety that indicate a mastery of his craft, Bausch captures and sustains the reader's sympathy for self-destructive Henry. At last, in a moving denouement, Henry achieves a transcendent moment of self-worth and connection. Bausch's profound empathy for his characters, his wise understanding that the texture of life is composed of ambiguities, failures, guilt feelingsDand a few successesDcontributes to a flawlessly expressed novel. Author tour. (Aug.) FYI: Robert Bausch is the twin brother of novelist Richard Bausch.
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Book Description Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX015100529X
Book Description Harcourt. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 015100529X New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW6.1780780