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A Hole in the Universe Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (February 22, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143034723
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143034728
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,320,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

What happens when a 43-year-old man returns to live in his hometown after serving a 25-year prison sentence for murder? That is the dramatic question at the center of this fifth novel by Morris (Songs in Ordinary Time; A Dangerous Woman). A contemporary Rip Van Winkle, Gordon Loomis returns to the home he left at age 18 to find a deteriorating neighborhood, overrun by drug dealers and mired in poverty. Gordon's brother, Dennis, sister-in-law Lisa and loyal friend Delores can all forgive Gordon for his crime, but he can't forgive himself. Though expertly drawn, Gordon is an enigmatic figure. Is he a bland and dull-witted giant ("three hundred and fifty pounds, six and a half feet tall") who just wants to be left alone or a paragon of virtue? Is Gordon's interference in his brother's marriage wrongheaded meddling or blessed intervention? When he aids Jada, a teenage neighbor whose mother is a junkie, is he asking for trouble or lifting up an oppressed and innocent child? Because he is a known ex-convict, Gordon becomes the neighborhood scapegoat, punished for his good deeds by those he seeks to help and protect. Only besotted Delores believes wholeheartedly in Gordon's goodness. Though Delores does eventually win Gordon's affection, he is alternately repulsed and comforted by her desperate loneliness and overeager attempts to help other people. Once again, Morris scores with her sympathetic portrayals of hard-to-like heroes and hopelessly floundering outcasts, infusing them with humanity. The plot picks up pace toward the end, reaching a fevered pitch as Gordon faces new (and unfounded) accusations, and the novel comes to a redemptive but satisfying and believable conclusion.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gordon Loomis, 43, imprisoned for 25 years for his participation in a robbery-murder, is released on parole. Instead of starting with a blank slate, he opts to return to his old neighborhood in Dearborn, Massachusetts, which is now decayed and drug-ridden. Gordon's principal edict is to lie low and not get too involved with the police, his family, or Delores, the friend who faithfully visited him all those years. Gordon spurns his brother's attempts to help him get a job, afraid of the inevitable reaction when his identity is discovered. His fears are justified when job offers are suddenly withdrawn, and elderly neighbors cringe at his offers of assistance. Suffocated by dread and lingering guilt, Gordon can barely cope with life outside prison walls, and Delores' intrusive attention and the obvious need of a pathetic neighbor, forced by her mother to deal drugs, are more than he can bear. Morris has previously established her affinity for the misfits of the world. Her empathy for Gordon and his supporting characters in this novel, her fifth, is palpable, leaving the reader in awe of her uncanny ability to capture and convey each personality's unique essence. Deborah Donovan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Needless to say I loved this book!
Lita E. Mathy
You have met every one of her characters somewhere in your life, but now you get a glimpse into what THEY'RE thinking.
Cindy T. Carney
All of the characters were very realistic, and the story engrossing.
Tracy L.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mary Lins TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I found "A Hole in the Universe" to be Morris' best novel since "A Dangerous Woman" (which I loved and highly reccomend), because what she does in these two novels is what she does better than almost anyone else: she brilliantly captures the essence of characters who are on the fringes of society; those who are socially inept, socially shunned, those "too needy" for other people's confort levels. She very craftily makes her readers both sympathetic, and at the same time repelled, by her characters.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By T. Young on May 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I LOVE Mary McGarry Morris so what you'll read here is 100% biased. Having devoured A Dangerous Woman and Vanished before realizing Ms. McHarry Morris is not exactly prolific, I promised to buy my own copy of her subsequent books and refrain from lending them to others if she'd just "step on it" a bit more. Fell on deaf ears, though ... .
Alas, what attracts me to her books are the characters and the prose. Her characters are somewhere between mainstream akimbo and slipstream irregular; fringe-dwellers who we're all capable of employing at one time or another. Her dialogue flows easily and every so often hesitates momentarily for honest and revealing introspection.
My offer still stands, Ms. McGarry Morris: Hardcover purchase, no lending. Now, get going on the next book!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lita E. Mathy on June 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I've read many reviews of books with the testimony "I couldn't put it down'" but had never really felt that way about a book. To me that was one of the beautiful things about a book, I could always put it down and do something else and come back to it when it suited me. Last night I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish the last 100 pages of A Hole in the Universe. I so needed to know what was going to happen to Gordon, Jada and Delores the three main characters in the novel. Mary McGarry Morris makes these characters part of your life and you care deeply for them and hope beyond hope that their lives will get better. Needless to say I loved this book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tracy L. VINE VOICE on November 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This was my second book by this author and I enjoyed it quite a bit. All of the characters were very realistic, and the story engrossing. You get a real sense of desperation and loneliness in each character. Gordon is desperate to be left alone, Delores is desperate to be worthy of love, Jada is desperate for a normal life with a mother who cares for her and so on. For me the most pathetic character is Dennis. He has everything and it's still not enough.

I found the ending a little suspect. It ended a little to quickly and neatly for me, but overall a very enjoyable book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ken liebeskind on August 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
the story of a man who has spent 25 years in prison is illuminated by the hardships of the others in his life. Gordon Loomis' brother, Dennis, is imprisoned by the affair he is having with a local beauty, which endangers his wife and kids; his neighbor, Jada, a 13-old-girl with a crack addicted mother, is imprisoned by the danger of her life; and his only friend, Delores, is imprisoned by her own weak nature, which has deprived her of happiness all her life. Loomis' problem of resuming his life after incarceration is accentuated by the problems the others face, which makes his story a rich portrait of a contemporary community plagued by crime, drug abuse and the hopelessness they all share. at first, this novel was hard to read, because the characters seemed insignificant. but they and their problems grow on you and it becomes highly impactful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ruth Porter on July 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a look at an awful situation—what it's like for someone who has served his time when he gets out of prison. He doubts himself and everyone else doubts him. It's a situation I hadn't thought much about until I read this book. It just shows hw a good novel can change the way a person thinks. It's a tough story, but I recommend it to everyone.
Ruth Porter
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marjorie Meyerle on March 9, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
Mary McGarry Morris' books are richly imaginative, but they are not for readers threatened by the dark side of human nature. Her characters have ventured into the swamps of human experience, and while most of them emerge intact and strengthened by the journey, others remain as they are: ignoble and tainted by their incapacity to admit an inability to see beyond their own needs and compulsive searches for self-gratification. For even the most jaded and compromised, Morris offers the possibility of redemption. Gordon Loomis, the protagonist of "A Hole in the Universe," is a man whose dark past is ultimately forgiven by those who come to know him as a decent, compassionate and loving human being. His search for meaning in a despairing and unfathomable universe imposes upon him a necessary discipline and reflects his refusal to judge, as he was so harshly when as a boy he participated in an unspeakable crime that resulted in his incarceration for more than two decades.

Gordon Loomis lives on a blighted urban street occupied by drug pushers, neglected and abused children, fearful old women, gun-toting criminals, greedy retailers, and unrepentant hookers. Nicknamed "Gloomis" for his depressed demeanor, Gordon is avoided by people because of his despicable past and because at 6'6" tall and weighing 350 pounds, he is frightening in his hugeness. Gloomy and looming over everyone else, he is bound to frighten others since it is common knowledge that he spent 25 years in prison for murdering a young, pregnant mother. But as Morris points out at the beginning of this richly woven novel, "That was somebody else, some eighteen year-old kid with the same name," deed, not the transformed, now free Gordon Loomis.
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