Schroder (Gaige) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
[The book's previoius] escapades are so unthreatening that it’s genuinely jolting when Schroder tilts toward a police chase and criminal prosecution. To her credit, Ms. Gaige has delicately mentioned the plot point that could potentially destroy Eric. But she hasn’t harped on it, so it resurfaces as a terrible surprise. And the reader is left to dissect a book that works as both character study and morality play, filled with questions that have no easy answers.
Janet Maslin - New York Times



Fiction is all about experimental selves, so it’s not hard to see what drew Amity Gaige to the title character of her third novel, Schroder.... The essence of the ersatz Rockefeller/Kennedy character is of course an epic, pathological narcissism, and this Gaige gets impressively right.... The novel’s climactic chapter is also its best conceived: the item that brings about Schroder’s downfall is perfect, both dramatic and mundane. The reader will realize that he or she has been given every detail necessary to see what was coming, yet didn’t, which is plot-making of the highest order.
Jonathan Dee - New York Times Book Review


The entire book is a testimony, written in prison, by a divorced dad to his ex-wife. Equal parts plea, apology and defense, this enthralling letter rises up from a fog of narcissism that will cloud your vision and put you under his spell…Gaige displays an unnerving insight into the grandiosity and fragility of the middle-aged male ego…With its psychological acuity, emotional complexity and topical subject matter, [Schroder] deserves all the success it can find.
Ron Charles - Washington Post

On occasion...a novel will provoke a host of tangled and disconcertingly conflicted reactions—revulsion and affection; blame and understanding; a connection that goes beyond surface sympathy to a deeper, and possibly unwanted, emotional recognition. These were among the things I experienced while reading Amity Gaige's astoundingly good novel Schroder.
Wall Street Journal


Brilliantly written....What could be a hackneyed novelistic trope--the confessional letter--is completely transformed in Gaige's sure and insightful hands....Schroder is 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


(Four stars.) 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


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 entree 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
Publishers Weekly


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.
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