Bausch, Robert. A Hole in the Earth. New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2000.
If you are anything like me you won’t be able to decide whether you love or hate or just feel sorry for Henry Porter. On the surface he is a selfish, superficial s.o.b. who never knows the right thing to say or do. He doesn’t know how to greet Nicole, his only child he hasn’t seen in six years. He has a strained relationship with his girlfriend and doesn’t know how to respond when she tells him she is pregnant with his child. He comes across as shallow and callous. Case in point: “I calculated that if she really wanted to get my understanding, she would ask for it” he says (p 32). But, having said all that, it’s his very attitude that makes him human. We all have our moments of being selfish, superficial, shallow, awkward, cold and callous. Henry Porter is real and you can’t help but identify with him, even if it is just a little. As Henry’s life becomes more complicated (Nicole gets in trouble with a boy and Elizabeth breaks up with him) Henry starts to find his way through his inability to respond to tragedy. It’s a good thing because things go from bad to the very worst and Henry must change in order to survive.
Favorite lines, “I wanted to tell her but my mind would not surrender the words” (p 239), and “Upstairs Nicole was building a cathedral of faithful hatred…” (p 275).
Reason read: National Problem Gambling Week was three weeks ago (March 3 – 9) but in recognition of those struggling with the addiction I read A Hole in the Earth.
Author fact: I loved Robert Bausch’s short bio on the back flap of A hole in the Earth. See if you can figure out why! 😉 “He has worked as a salesman, taxi driver, library assistant, and waiter.”
Book trivia: The cover of my edition features a boy jumping off something. While he is in mid-fall he looks anticipatory and almost excited. It’s a scene from the book that is also a metaphor for Henry’s adult life.
BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called “All in the Family: Writer Dynasties” (p 6). So, Pearl’s chapter doesn’t have anything to do with gambling. Instead A Hole in the Earth is mentioned because Robert and his brother, Richard, are both writers.