Feature

Novel of the week: Schroder by Amity Gaige

Will “Schroder” become Amity Gaige's breakthrough novel?

(Twelve, $22)

“How impressive to have created a protagonist who’s brilliant, narcissistic, creepy, and unhinged, yet somehow sympathetic,” said Carmela Ciuraru in USA Today. That’s what Amity Gaige has done in inventing Erik Schroder, a divorced father of a young girl and a man who has been living a lie since he arrived in America at age 14 and adopted the surname Kennedy—as in those Kennedys. Gaige’s third novel is presented as a letter that the East German native wrote to his ex-wife to explain why he kidnapped their 6-year-old, and yet he seems “more pitiful than hateful.” Gaige possesses “unnerving insight into the grandiosity and fragility of the middle-aged male ego,” said Ron Charles in The Washington Post. Indeed, Schroder is most deeply engaged in self-justifying fiction when he’s speaking openly about his flaws. Yet this man “really does adore his daughter,” and that makes his story deeply tragic. The novel could be Gaige’s breakthrough; it “deserves all the success it can find.”

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