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.
©2013 Amity Gaige (P)2013 Hachette Audio
I would have never picked up this book based on it's description, but happened on a review and decided to listen anyway.
And I don't normally write reviews, because I'm not a good writer, but I have to tell you (as I've told my friends one by one today) that I listened to this whole book yesterday and started it again today. It is perfect. It is funny and sad and moving and every single sentence is so well constructed and lovely...the reader is perfect. I'm not kidding at all, this is the best book I've ever listened to-- don't pass it by.
I hope her other books will be available on Audible- in the meantime, I'm going to read them!
I was captivated by the story and motivated to read on. Gaige's style is interesting. I thought the narrator was excellent. Collyer made the main character seem believable even appealing at times. Schroder/Kennedy made one bad decision after another. Painful.
Having been through a difficult divorce (with children) I could feel the angst created in the story line. You felt angst throughout the audio.
I would recommend this book whole heartedly except that the end was not good. I like a book to have a true beginning, middle and end. I was disappointed with the end. I felt like the story stopped abruptly and I was left saying to myself, "Huh?".
I would listen to this book again. It was a great story and Schroder was an interesting character
Sophie's Choice - because terror and hardship force us to make difficult & painful decisions that we must live with for the rest of our lives.
Erick Schroder was my favorite because he was such a rich character. He did what we have all wished to do at times in our lives - become someone different, re-invent ourselves.
What would you do if you hated your life and wanted to forget??
I enjoyed this book of a father abducting his own daughter and the adventures/misadventures than ensue. Good characterization.
I did not enjoy the content of this book but I have enjoyed immensely the writing. This writer is very talented. The writing is so, for the lack of better word, solid. from beginning to end it has the same rhythm, like reading with a metronome. the reader understands very well the hero's way of thinking even though he does not relate to it. I will read more books by Amity Gaige, hopefully with content I can relate to.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
Schroder is about personal identity. Every human being has an identity that is reinforced by relationship with others. One of the most important identity reinforcements is forged by marriage. There is only one good reason for two adults to get married; as trite as it may seem, it is love. When love leaves one partner in a marriage, it deconstructs the union of two or more people and, when a marriage dissolves, personal identity changes.
Defined by a daughter that no longer lives in his life, Schroder becomes like his father; abandoned by all. Eric is only a perception of himself. He wanders between two identities with no relational reinforcement. He wonders, who am I?
NOTE: The character of Schroder is partly based on the real life identity thief Christian Gerhartsreiter, aka Clark Rockefeller.
I looked at several reviews online before buying this (not including the ones here on audible). I saw the book described as a combination of Nabokov & Salinger. Nothing could live up to that hype, but this doesn't even come close.
It's a simple, easy read. It's not exceptional prose, it's not great literature. It barely held my interest as the characters lacked depth & the situations were fairly predictable.
It flows fairly smoothly from beginning to end & will certainly appeal to many readers.
I was expecting a great deal more from it & am disappointed. If the storyline description appeals to you & you enjoy a lazy read then you will very likely enjoy this book. But don't believe the hype.
i like to read. i like to listen.
wow this book was disturbing. and it was beautiful at the same time. every time i put my iphone down, i couldn't stop thinking about it. i wanted to just listen to it nonstop so that i could be done with it. but in a good way.
i know that sounds weird.
let me try again. this story was so...real. the way that this father describes his life, his love, his daughter. his life and love for his daughter. it's so true, so real. there are moments that i was reading this and i couldn't feel more connected to the narrator.
then there were moments where i was so appalled by him. and upset, horrified, disgusted. i got angry at myself for feeling empathetic a few moments before.
as i said in the title, this is an amazing and disturbing read at the same time...i loved it.
"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.
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