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A Hole in the Universe
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A Hole in the Universe

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  514 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
Readers and critics have been enchanted by Mary McGarry Morris’s unforgettable characters and masterly use of suspense in her four earlier novels, including the bestselling Songs in Ordinary Time. In her latest tour de force, Gordon Loomis returns to a changed world after twenty-five years in prison. His old neighborhood is blighted by drug dealers; his brother is eager to ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 22nd 2005 by Penguin Books (first published March 8th 2004)
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Nov 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Ever since I stumbled on "Vanished" I've been a huge Morris fan, but I quit "A Hole in the Universe" a quarter way through because of what might be called a severe phobia: I can't bear to read (or reread, in the case of books I previously enjoyed) anything that includes the death of a dog. I stopped reading "Hole" because I grew too anxious about the fate of the girl's dog. Can someone provide a signal on the dog's fate? I know this sounds stupid, but it's a very real problem for me
Judy Mann
Apr 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
I honestly and truly have no idea how to rate this book. She is a good writer- there's no question there and she sure gets that dismal depression which has taken over a lot of the east coast-particularily New England. But gimme a break. It got to the point that I physically could not read anything about Jada.I could not read how passive this hulk named Gordon was. I mean quiet is one thing- but his guy was sleepwalking through the whole book. 300 pounds of dead meat. Really. And Jada's just wait ...more
Apr 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-adored
Loved this book. Every time I had to put it down I was counting down until I could pick it up again. Beautifully written. I loved both the story and the characters. I'm partial to books set in Detroit, anyway. I could totally visualize the whole thing - it was like I was sitting on the street watching it all unfold. Other reveiwers have indicated that they couldn't understand the motivation of various characters, but I did not find that at all. I "got" each character and their complexities. That ...more
Mary Martin
Oct 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Gordon Loomis just wants to be left alone. After 25 yrs in prison for murder he just wants to work at a mindless job & go home to a quiet life. His brother Dennis wants Gordon to move fr the homestead & get a decent job at his father-in-laws brewery. Delores Dufault want Gordonto embrace life, make friends, take a chance at love.
Oct 23, 2017 rated it liked it
If you want to read about depravity, inner city horrors, and dysfunctional characters, this is the book for you. Well written, but not for everyone.
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
I kept waiting for the story to develop and it never felt like it did.
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

Darryl Mexic
Jan 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
“A Hole in the Universe” by Mary McGarry Morris **** Fiction. The first time I read one of Ms. Morris’ novels, I indicated how fortunate it is that she is a prolific author. She certainly did not disappoint me with the current novel. Her characters are developed to a detailed extent, and she seems to be dead on with the thoughts she gives to the complex characters. Gordon Loomis, a brooding 300 pounds, six and a half feet tall, convicted murderer, is just out of jail after twenty five years of i ...more
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Existences cabossées, tragédies dérisoires des laissés-pour-compte de l'Amérique profonde... Avec le talent qui a fait l'immense succès de Mélodie du temps ordinaire, Mary McGarry Morris nous livre un roman poignant sur la liberté, le pardon et l'expiation. Après avoir purgé une peine de vingt-cinq ans pour homicide, Gordon Loomis réapprend à vivre dans un monde à peine moins redoutable que l'univers carcéral. Car la paisible ville du Massachusetts où il a grandi est devenue une zone de non-droi ...more
Oct 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I gave this five stars b/c it is an amazing book. But I don't recommend it for the faint of heart. I almost gave up on it several times. The main character is a convicted murderer but... he is very likeable. His "girlfriend" Delores is likeable and pitiable.

The other characters are horrors, in fact this book is a horror story. I probably won't read any of her other books as I don't read Steven King anymore either.
I stayed with this book b/c the writing was wonderful, the characters were well d
May 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery lovers
I can tell by reading the first few pages, then the rest of chapter 1 that this is going to be a GOOD book!

It was a great read. All about surviving the urban war zone.

Why? Because the main character is interesting, a big "Loomer" of a man who was imprisoned for murdering a young woman before he was out of public school.

The story begins with him going for a job interview in his first week out of prison where he had been for 25 years. His brother had set up this interview for Loom
Nov 03, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I stayed with this book until the end, but was dissatisfied by unresolved storylines at the end. This is a book full of characters that are really hard to like. Most of them live on a street filled with violent crime and drugs so they live a hard life. We have glimpses of their lives, but don’t have a good picture of them. Sometimes their motivation is clear, but not always. Gordon is the most frustrating. He is the main character and was recently paroled after serving 25 years in prison for a m ...more
Feb 16, 2009 rated it liked it
A friend at work gave me this work over the summer. I read the first few chapters and then left it lying around in my car for months. I didn't really want to finish it, but one day I was bored and the book in my car was all I had. I am glad I picked it back up. Once I got reimmursed in the story, I was really interested in finishing it.

The story is about Gordon Loomis, a large man who just got out of jail for murder. As a teenager, he was an unwilling accomplice in the murder of a young pregnant
Apr 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The characters in this book are so real, it feels as though you know them. I listened to this story on CD. There is a lot of bad language in it, but mostly the same 4-letter word over and over, so it's not real bad. It fits the characters who use it that often and the story wouldn't be as vibrant without it. Don't let that stop you from reading this book. The author does an amazing job at making the people in the book believable with all their flaws. The range of characters is wide. I felt an ar ...more
Jun 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Sad, just a very sad book. The tale centers around Gordon, just home after 25 years in the slammer for a murder; his actual involvement was real, but is somewhat unclear. He has more sense about his responsibility and the results of that act than do the others in his circle. The romantic interest is so pathetic in her efforts to please (everyone, not just Gordon) that she made me cringe. And so it goes.

There is the expected "dominance of the human spirit" stuff here, but all in all the book made
Jul 06, 2015 rated it liked it
This is one depressing book! The feeling of imminent doom continues unabated throughout the story. All the characters are flawed and desperate, even Delores who tries so hard to please everyone she encounters. Her belief in the goodness of people is somehow diminished in the telling. Gordon, a recently released criminal, having spent 25 years behind bars, has enormous problems coming to terms with his release into an unfamiliar world. His constant failure to assimilate is disheartening to say th ...more
Aug 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Gordon Loomis' character is what kept me reading the novel, that and my desire to see how Morris would tie all the disparate elements together. The shifting point of view, and the late add-in of italicized text (whose point of view was that meant to be anyway) were distracting. The ending, in which not only is nothing resolved but Gordon's character still has not reached any ... what, enlightenment? ... was terribly disappointing. The one thing done really well, in my opinion, was the glimpse in ...more
Sep 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
Picked this up on a whim at the local library (which I normally have great success with) though sadly not in this case. While the work was well written (hence 2 stars over 1) the story itself fell very flat and was very much a dud in my option. I didn't even finish it, which I have only done a small handful of times. All library grabs can't be great while this was not terrible by any means, I certainly wouldn't recommend it to fellow readers either. With a title Hole in the Universe I just expec ...more
Grace Sheese
Oct 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a really good book. I was on edge towards the end because I cared about what happened to the characters, all of whom felt real to me. My only issue with the book (and it's not even really an issue) is how sad parts of the book was. It was sad because it was so realistic and because as I've mentioned, I really cared about the characters. I think my next book needs to be a lighthearted one to balance things out.
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
"I never would have thought that I could root for a murderer, which would be a sign of an author who is very good at characterization. Gordon returns to his hometown after 25 yrs. in jail, starting over where everyone thinks they know his story. His 13 yr. old neighbor is just trying to survive, with a crack addict for a mother. The girl decides to latch on to Gordon. Then there is the elderly neighbor, watching her neighborhood fall apart. Book would lend itself well to a book discussion.
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Mary McGarry Morris is one of my favorite authors. This book doesn't disappoint. Gordon Loomis is released from prison after serving 25 years for a senseless juvenile murder. He moves back into his childhood home which was left to him by his parents which is now a decaying neighborhood filled with drug dealers and neglected property. Very good story of Gordon just trying to make sense of a world that is so changed from when he left.
Jul 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is the story of a man who just got out of prison from a crime he was convicted of as a teenager. His brother and brother's wife are trying to make the transition to "real life" smooth for him, but he just wants to be left alone. He moves into his childhood home (left for him by his deceased parents) and his neighborhood is filled with crime and drugs.
A bit depressing of a story, but I enjoyed reading it.
May 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
If you have never read Mary McGarry Morris I will tell you that she is the master at writing about dysfunctional families -- if you do not like this genre you probably will not like anything she writes. She actually fascinates me and this book was no exception. Again this book was about lowlife dysfunctional characters but the reading is compelling --at least to me. Not a book for everyone.
Mar 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2008
I'm about 75 pages in and so far I am really enjoying this read. I've read her other novels and they were terrific. Now finished - a very quick read. I think the characters needed more development - I didn't feel like I really understood their motivations The plot was also rather predictatable. Still, a worthwhile read.
Mar 23, 2010 rated it liked it
The characters in this book (accomplice to murder released from prison after 25 years, his awful brother, a woman who loves him for no apparent reason, the daughter of a drug addict who lives next door) were a little bit too pathetically made me feel bad to read about them. I skimmed through part of the middle, the story moved verrrrry slowly.
Suzanne Auckerman
Jul 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Her books are always full of tension, tense people, tensions between people, They are exhausting to read. I never really understood the main character. It is about Gordon Loomis, who killed a pregnant woman when he was a teenager and served 25 years in prison. He has gotten out and his adjustment to life "outside".
Lisa Thomson
Oct 20, 2013 rated it liked it
There is some beautiful prose here. I was rooting for Gordon Loomis in a big way. This book makes us reevaluate who we think is capable of change and of our compassion. Can a former inmate a murderer be rehabilitated? Is there goodness in a drug addict? You'll have to read this to judge for yourself. My only complaint, the sadness and hopelessness in the book went on a little too long.
Jul 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Morris tells the sad story of a man who was in prison for 25 years for a questionable murder. He makes the choice to stay at his family's home in town that has been infested with crime, drugs and unique characters. Morris is a great writer whose details and characterization are vivid and realistic. Another great read!
Aug 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This author has a gift. She gently draws you in, gets in your blood, and touches in tender places. The characters are outcasts caught in the futility of life, yet they touch your heart. It's a tough read but so worth it.
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As the author of several novels, Mary McGarry Morris has received considerable attention from critics and readers, as well as from prestigious awards panels.
Her books are noted for their depictions of mentally and emotionally impaired individuals who have difficulty coping with an inhospitable world.
As New York Times Book Review contributor Alice McDermott put it, “Morris does not devise plots,