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Attending a New England summer camp as an adolescent, young Erik Schroder – a first generation East German immigrant – adopts a new name and a new persona – Eric Kennedy – in the hopes that it will help him fit in. This fateful white lie will set him on an improbable and ultimately tragic course.
Schroder relates the story of Eric’s urgent escape years later through the New England countryside with his six-year-old daughter, Meadow, in an attempt to outrun the authorities amidst 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 in order to understand – and maybe even explain – his behaviour; 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.
Lyrical prose. A poignant, heartbreaking novel.
A brilliant exploration of identity and belonging, and Gaige's writing is beautiful.
'[The novel] is contemplative, poetic certainly, but the narrative is urgent and concise and Gaige's storytelling effortlessly spontaneous.
Tender, improbably exhilarating novel ... a smart, ebullient and affectionate allegory for a post credit-crunch America that's frayed but by no means irreparably broken.
Brilliantly eliciting sympathy where, theoretically, none is deserved, this is a tense, ambitious, bravura exploration of the physical and psychological limits of identity - how we are seen by others, and what we make of ourselves.
Gaige's prose flows effortlessly .... I found it difficult to put this book down, even when it brought me to tears. Completely absorbed into Eric's mind, we feel for him, even while we condemn his actions ... surreal yet completely believeable ... many layered and beautifully written, Schroder is a devastating work that resonates for a long time after the final page.
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