Schroder: A Novel
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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.
keep me company.” I smiled at her in the rearview mirror. “Turns out, I don’t like the quiet. G.K. Chesterton called it ‘the unbearable repartee.’ Silence, that is.”5 I was driving—just driving—Lake George constant alongside, the moon skipping through the branches. “And it’s too quiet without you around,” I said. “No knock-knock jokes. No songs. I feel like I missed a year of your life, really. It’s not your fault. But you can swim and I didn’t even know it. It’s like my life’s been on pause,
have said, Actually, I’m needed back at my rental on New Scotland Ave. so that I can spend another evening in the shower stall scrubbing the soap scum off the sealant with a toothbrush, a glass of Canadian Club nestled in the soap basket? I stepped inside the tiny cabin and sneezed from the visible allergens. “Thank you,” I said, pumping the old woman’s hand. “We love it.” WHEN IN DOUBT, DON’T They say the recession made people look inward. Out of work, folks suddenly had time on their
child, endowed with a last name that could only be uttered in rapture. ERRATUM For the record: The groom never told the bride that he was related to the Kennedys of presidential fame. This has been reported in the papers, and the groom categorically denies it. No, it was simply the word “Kennedy” plus the words “near Hyannis Port,” and everyone started rushing to conclusions. The groom will admit that once or twice late at night with his female peers at Mune College, he did not
essential indifference of the cosmos. And so, to his chagrin, he started making up little songs, things like “You Don’t Love My Big Toe” or “Someone’s Abusing My Appliances.” These songs embarrassed him not because they were polluting the silence he had come to study, but because they were so childish. After a while, my friend packed up his things and headed home. He had learned something. He didn’t know what he had learned, but he felt better. I think what he learned was that he would always be
three hours and twenty-three minutes. Giddy, exhausted, I signed. Our parental agreement floated through the courts of Albany to be stamped into officialdom. Meadow arrived that very afternoon, bearing oatmeal cookies the two of you had made together. I can’t quite describe my happiness at seeing her step from her grandfather’s SUV. It was as good as all the best moments. As good as when I first held her as a newborn. As good as the moment I discovered she’d defaced all of my professional