Attending a New England summer camp, young Eric Schroder - a first-generation East German immigrant - adopts the last name Kennedy to more easily fit in, a fateful white lie that will set him on an improbable and ultimately tragic course.
Schroder relates the story of Eric's urgent escape years later to Lake Champlain, Vermont, with his six-year-old daughter, Meadow, in an attempt to outrun the authorities amid a heated custody battle with his wife, who will soon discover that her husband is not who he says he is. From a correctional facility, Eric surveys the course of his life to understand - and maybe even explain - his behavior: the painful separation from his mother in childhood; a harrowing escape to America with his taciturn father; a romance that withered under a shadow of lies; and his proudest moments and greatest regrets as a flawed but loving father.
Alternately lovesick and ecstatic, Amity Gaige's deftly imagined novel offers a profound meditation on history and fatherhood, and the many identities we take on in our lives - those we are born with and those we construct for ourselves.
Having read Amity Gaige's previous two books, I anticipated the beauty of her latest novel, Schroder. What I didn't anticipate was the weightiness of it, her ability to take the slightest moments and the lightest phrases and mold them into matters of great consequence. I also enjoyed Gaige's more substantial plot: this novel, though still quite lyrical, has the suspense and forward action that were sometimes lacking in her previous two books. (Reviewed by Stacey Brownlie).
O, The Oprah Magazine
A lyrical and poetic novel about the adverse ramifications of a little white lie that follows its teller throughout his life.
Chicago Tribune The Folded World will appeal to readers who like to dive into the muck of internal and interpersonal conflicts, and break the surface with breath born of insight and empathy. Amity Gaige's second novel lives up to the reputation she earned with her first one, as an original, compelling voice.
Tender moments of observation, regret, and joy - all conveyed in unself-consciously lyrical prose result in a radiant meditation on identity, memory, and familial love and loss.
[An] expert exploration of the immigrant experience, alienation, and the unbreakable bond between parent and child.
Starred Review. Smart, comic, unsettling, yet strangely of a piece - not unlike its disarming lead character.
Jonathan Franzen, author of Freedom and The Corrections
The measure of Gaige's great gifts as a storyteller is that she persuades you to believe in a situation that shouldn't be believable, and to love a narrator who shouldn't be lovable. Seldom has such a daring concept for a novel been grounded in such an appealing character
Jennifer Egan, author of A Visit from the Goon Squad
In Schroder, Amity Gaige explores the rich, murky realm where parental devotion edges into mania, and logic crabwalks into crime. This offbeat, exquisitely written novel showcases a fresh, forceful young voice in American letters.
David Bezmozgis, prize-winning author of Natasha and Other Stories and The Free World
Amity Gaige has written a flawless book. It does not contain a single false note. Eric Schroder should take his place among the most charismatic and memorable characters in contemporary fiction, and Amity Gaige her place among the most talented and impressive writers working today.
Adam Haslett, author of Union Atlantic, and the New York Times best-selling short story collection You Are Not a Stranger Here
You will not want to put this book down. You will want to read it in one big gulp. This is a bullet of a novel, aimed at our pieties about parenthood and familial love. You won't soon forget Schroder or his daughter or the sentences that bring them to life.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Diane S. Schroder Although this sounds like a simple tale, a father kidnapping his eight yr. old daughter, (not a spoiler as it clearly states this in the book description), this novel is anything but simple. When we hear on the news that a father has kidnapped one... Read More
In the interview at the close of the novel, Gaige reveals that an Associated Press snippet about the Clark Rockefeller case was the seed idea for her story. Though Gaige states she chose not to research in detail this tale of a con man turned kidnapper, a great deal of information is readily available via news stories.
Rockefeller, whose real name is Christian Gerhartsreiter, rushed his daughter Reigh into a waiting limousine during a supervised custodial visit in July of 2008. Gerhartsreiter's devotion to his daughter was apparently the one thing that could bring down his house of cards - a lifetime of pretending to be someone else. In 2009, he was convicted of kidnapping his daughter and received a sentence of four to five years in prison. In March 2011, he was also charged with murder relating to a California cold case from the 1985.
In this striking literary debut, Carol Rifka Brunt unfolds a moving story of love, grief, and renewal as two lonely people become the unlikeliest of friends and find that sometimes you don't know you've lost someone until you've found them.
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