Amity Gaige’s deeply layered Schroder (Twelve, Feb.) drew me in with the intense beauty of the language and the doomed journey of its unreliable narrator. If I ever paused when devouring it, it was to savor the striking sentences. The novel centers on an embattled father, Eric Schroder, reclaiming his only joy; a father who, not surprisingly, given his desperation, uses a rare weekend visitation with his six-year-old daughter to “hit the road.” An outing to the lake escalates to a weeklong flight that meanders and stalls, having less to do with escape and more to do with his heart-wrenching goodbye to his daughter and the life they used to share. Told in hindsight as an apology to his wife (and possibly to help vindicate himself in court), Schroder is a character who breathes lies and has real potential to repel. Yet as a testament to Gaige’s skill and compassion as a writer, I loved Schroder for his humanity and the way he expressed love for his daughter—however bungled and ill conceived. A beautiful book.