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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (792 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Amity Gaige Narrator: Will Collyer Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2013 ISBN: 9781611132953
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A lyrical and deeply affecting novel recounting the seven days a father spends on the road with his daughter after kidnapping her during a parental visit

Attending a New England summer camp, young Eric Schroder—a first-generation East German immigrant—adopts the last name Kennedy to fit in more easily, 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • 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. To those who know Gaige's first two novels, it's no surprise she's produced another stunner. To those who don't, you're in for a treat. Adam Haslett, author of Union Atlantic, and the New York Times best-selling short story collection You Are Not a Stranger Here
  • The bitterness and disillusion of marriage have been thoroughly plumbed in contemporary fiction; Gaige is one of the rare novelists who is more interested in its potential for happiness and grace. A-. Entertainment Weekly on The Folded World
  • Love, marriage, and the whole damn thing-all spanned in a witty, tender first novel. With a flavor of Lorrie Moore, graceful, bright, modern writing. Kirkus on O My Darling
  • Utterly devourable...gently, and beautifully unfolds, like a gauzy curtain in an open window. Los Angeles Times on O My Darling
  • Sparkles and delights...crystalline insights into the nature of love and flashes of narrative brilliance. Publisher's Weekly on O My Darling
  • 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. Chicago Tribune (Favorite Books of 2007)
  • “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.”

    Jennifer Egan, New York Times bestselling author

  • Complicated and nuanced . . . the novel is absorbing, with a propulsive plot and a narrator who is charming, ambivalent, and searching-a man driven by love who understands that love cannot save him. The New Yorker
  • 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. 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.”

    Jonathan Franzen, New York Times bestselling author

  • “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. To those who know Gaige’s first two novels, it’s no surprise she’s produced another stunner. To those who don’t, you’re in for a treat.”

    Adam Haslett, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Strikingly original.”

    Reader’s Digest

  • “Gaige’s spot-on prose makes this quirky parental drama irresistible.”

    Good Housekeeping

  • “Like Nabokov’s Humbert Humbert, Schroder is charming and deceptive, likable and flawed, a conman who has a clever way with words. Schroder’s tale is deeply engaging, and Gaige’s writing is surprising and original, but the real pull of this magnetic novel is the moral ambiguity the reader feels.”

    People

  • “A lyrical and poetic novel about the adverse ramifications of a little white lie that follows its teller throughout his life.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “Brilliantly written…What could be a hackneyed novelistic trope—the confessional letter—is completely transformed in Gaige’s sure and insightful hands…Schroderis a haunting look at the extreme desire for love and family and how the mind can justify that need to possess what it cannot have. Almost, just almost, Schroder has us rooting for him.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “Quiet and deeply introspective…Tender moments of observation, regret, and joy—all conveyed in un-self-consciously lyrical prose—result in a radiant meditation on identity, memory, and familial love and loss.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Will Collyer’s expressive performance portrays the spectrum of human emotion from youthful enthusiasm to hurt and baffled despair. His engaging portrayal carries the listener through the story…As a team, Gaige and Collyer draw a heartbreaking portrait of devoted fatherhood and impending loss. Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award.”

    AudioFile

  • “Gaige creates a fascinating and complex character in Erik, as he moves from the eccentric and slightly irresponsible father to a desperate man at the end of his rope…[An] expert exploration of the immigrant experience, alienation, and the unbreakable bond between parent and child.”

    Booklist

  • “Daring…A clean, suspenseful, economical story that is also a clever act of social commentary…As a case study of the unreliable narrator, Schroder is beautifully managed…Gaige…is an accomplished writer, and the novel elegantly navigates its ethical razor’s edge, bringing the reader along on a kind of joyride gone wrong…half sympathy-inducing mea culpa, half a bristling act of bravado and self-ignorance…Novelists like Gaige remind us that we live not in the age of the nineteenth-century marriage plot but in the era of the twenty-first century divorce plot…Gaige writes with a cool strangeness, a strong sense of style…Schroder is by turns dry, peculiar, expansive, and visionary.”

    Bookforum

  • “Amity Gaige has written a flawless book. It does not contain a single false note. Playful and inventive, Schrodermovingly depicts the ways we confound our own hearts—how even with the best intentions we fail to love those closest to us as well as we wish we could. 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.”

    David Bezmozgis, prizewinning author

  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books of 2013
  • A Huffington Post Best Book of 2013
  • One of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2013
  • A 2013 Washington Post Notable Book for Fiction
  • A 2013 New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • An Amazon Top 100 Book of 2013
  • A 2013 BookPage Best Book
  • A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2013 for Fiction
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month, February 2013
  • Selected for the February 2013 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Julie Horton | 2/18/2014

    " I did not care for the book at all. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Charlene | 2/10/2014

    " Schroder is the story of Eric Kennedy, who was born Erik Schroder in East Germany. His marriage is breaking down and he goes on an unauthhorized "adventure" with his daughter, Meadow. I liked the story quite a lot, but there were a few things that stood out from reality and made me pause. I really liked the narrator's use of footnotes, which was an unusual technique and very enlightening. I really disliked that the daughter acted far older than a five-year-old would have, and Eric's conversations with this supposed five-year-old were not grounded in reality at all, no matter how precocious she was. This was a layered, complicated novel, and I liked it for what it was, even as Eric Kennedy ended up to be an unlikeable, selfish liar. This novel is written as an explanation/apology from Eric to his wife at the end of his week-long adventure with Meadow, and it uncovers a lot of uncomfortable truths in his life that I feel he should have dealt with long before this point, and saved himself and his loved ones a lot of trouble and heartbreak. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Fay | 1/21/2014

    " The author's prose is hypnotic. A slow read that is definitely worthwhile. After reading Schroder I found the interview with the author very helpful. It's a good idea too read The Folded World first, to show how she's evolving as a writer. The Folded World is an easier book to love. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pam Bartholomew | 1/21/2014

    " This book was interesting. The main character had a very likable quality and I wanted to root for him but he made many odd choices. The beginning was a little slow but then I couldn't put it down. Well written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christine Rausch | 12/4/2013

    " Intense story about a father's love for a daughter he may lose through a custody battle. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Molly | 11/29/2013

    " OK, but weird to me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nancy | 11/10/2013

    " Loved the concept, loved the book, but didn't like the ambiguous ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gina | 11/6/2013

    " I'd give this 3.5 stars. The desperation Eric exhibits to be an active father with Meadow is very palpable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lori | 9/30/2013

    " Loved this book. It was a story quirky enough to be a John Irving story (which I love). Beautifully written. An improbable story that was made believable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Troy Lindeman-Wyner | 7/9/2013

    " A fast, good read. If it was a little longer I think the characters could have been fleshed out more. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tara Catogge | 6/27/2013

    " Loved this..loved it, loved it, loved it. Beautifully written, plotted and features one of the most sympathetic antagonists I've read in a long time. I predict big things for this little gem. I hope Amity Gaige buys herself a new gown for awards season. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Agnes Muscoreil | 6/10/2013

    " Just could not get into this tale of a father who runs off with his daughter for a week! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Gretchen | 6/5/2013

    " Just sad "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Scott Freeman | 5/16/2013

    " My one quibble with this book is that the book jacket reveals a major plot development that is not fully revealed in the text until page 167. Can't fault the writer for that, though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Book Bazaar | 3/3/2013

    " An unusual novel as we travel with an unreliable narrator who we know has done something wrong. I was swept along with the narrative and didn't want to stop reading even though we are told fairly early where the story will end up. A very clever novel! "

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About the Author
Amity Gaige's essays, articles, and stories have appeared in various publications, including the Yale Review, Los Angeles Times, O Magazine, The Literary Review, and in a 2009 collection of essays, Feed Me (Random House). She is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, a McDowell Colony Fellowship, and a Baltic Writing Residency Fellowship, and is currently the Visiting Writer at Amherst College. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with her family.
About the Narrator

Will Collyer is a film, television, and stage actor. He has starred in television shows such as Melrose Place, Charmed, CSI: Miami, and Boston Public, as well as numerous films and plays. He holds a BA in theater arts from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television.