Charlie Shade was born into a quiet, prosperous life, but a sense of injustice dogs him. He feels destined to leave his life of "bread and laundry," to work instead with people in crisis. On his way, he meets his kindred spirit in Alice, a soulful young woman, living helplessly by laws of childhood superstition. Charlie's empathy with his clientstroubled souls like Hal, the high-school wrestling champion who undergoes a psychotic break, and Opal, the isolated young woman who claims "various philosophies have confused my life"is both admirable and nearly fatal. An adoring husband and new father, Charlie risks his own cherished, private domestic world to help Hal, Opal, and others move beyond their haunted inner worlds into the larger world of love and connection.
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"Details about the mechanisms of the social work system are convincing, as is Gaige's portrayal of a young marriage on the rocks, but the narrative may be too tidy for some." - PW.
"Indeed, it is exhilarating to see Alice, the horrifyingly passive wife, transform herself into a competent woman. This alchemy, in concert with a beautiful story wonderfully told, makes this highly recommended" - Library Journal.
"Gaige's off-beat orientation, wit and piercing insights stand up to her first novel, this time in a more sober and less tidy narrative that offers greater breadth in exchange for sweetness. " - Kirkus.
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Amity Gaige is the author of three novels,O My Darling (2005), The Folded World (2007), and Schroder
Amity was the recipient of the Foreword Book of the Year Award for 2007, and in 2006, she was recognized as one of the "5 Under 35" outstanding emerging writers by the National Book Foundation. Amity is the winner of a Fulbright Fellowship, fellowships at the MacDowell and Yaddo colonies, and a Baltic Writing Residency.
Her short stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in publications such as The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, O Magazine, the Literary Review, The Yale Review, One Story, and elsewhere.
She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, and is the current Visiting Writer at Amherst College.
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