Schroder

Amity Gaige, Author
Amity Gaige. Hachette/Twelve, $21.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4555-1213-3
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Gaige (The Folded World) revisits the fragility of family life in her newest, based broadly on the Clark Rockefeller child custody kidnapping case. The book—written as an apology (in both the Socratic and emotional sense) to the narrator’s ex-wife as he awaits trial—is quiet and deeply introspective. Erik Schroder was born in East Berlin, but escaped with his father to working-class Boston. Recreating himself as Eric Kennedy, raised in a fictional town by a patrician family, the narrator distances himself from his past to gain entrée into American aristocracy. But his marriage—based on lies—goes sour, and in the midst of the resultant unfavorable custody arrangement, Eric takes his six-year-old daughter, Meadow, on an unsanctioned road trip through New England, seizing the opportunity to reconnect with her, even as he realizes that this idyllic time is as illusory as his past. Although Eric is often unreliable, Gaige conjures a groundswell of sympathy for an otherwise repugnant character. 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. Agent: Wendy Weil, the Wendy Weil Agency. (Feb.)
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