Shortlisted for The Folio Prize 2014
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 more easily fit in, 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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Beautiful and moving
A wonderful narrator, who really got the perfect balance between the inevitable self sabotage of the protagonist against the subtle and poetic sensitivity of his narrative voice.
Schroder himself: complex, contradictory, sympathetic and repulsive at once.
But I love how Amity Gaige brings so much life to the other characters with such economy of scale; she really breathes life in to them using so little, showing how much she trusts and respects her readers.
I like the way he portrays Meadow, he reads with great rhythm.
Yes, it definitely moved me, but it is not sentimental and does not intentionally pull at the heart strings...it just unfolds and gives you generous space to walk around in, feeling your way through the language and the landscapes, quietly allowing you to gauge your own reactions and shifting sympathies.
A great book which enjoys narrative and language without being heavy handed with it read by an intelligent narrator who really brings the best out of it with a sonorous clarity and steady focus.
- D L. bloom