Amity Gaige is the author of three novels, O My Darling (2005), The Folded World (2007), and Schroder , (February, 2013) Quickly becoming one of the most talked-about books of the year, Schroder is set to be published in 18 countries.
Schroder recounts the seven days a father spends on the road with his daughter after kidnapping her during a parental visit. Further complicating matters is the fact that for years title character Erik Schroder, an East German refugee from a humble background, has successfully passed himself off as Eric Kennedy, “a second cousin twice removed to the Hyannis Port Kennedys.”
Gaige was inspired to write Schroder after she found herself fascinated by a real-life drama that had made headlines. A German national named Christian Gerhartsreiter had pretended for years to be a member of the industrialist Rockefeller dynasty, living his life as Clark Rockefeller. Gerhartsreiter’s web of lies became undone after he captured the world’s attention in the summer of 2008 by abducting his then 7-year-old daughter from a Boston street.
Gaige was struck by one news story in particular that included accounts from those who personally knew Gerhartsreiter depicting him as a loving father and quoting the man himself referring to the stolen time with his daughter as “the best days” of his life. Gaige began ruminating on parenthood and whether a deeply flawed person could be a good or good enough parent. And if so what would ultimately define that?
In her own life, Gaige herself was fairly new to parenthood and all that comes with it when she began writing Schroder . She had just witnessed her parents divorcing after 41 years of marriage, an emotionally disorienting event soon followed by her father’s terminal illness and death. She did her best to project a sense of normalcy to her young son which proved increasingly more difficult. Emotional threads yielded from these deeply personal and profound experiences found themselves woven into Schroder .
Gaige has won many awards for her previous books including Foreword Book of the Year Award for 2007, and in 2006, she was recognized as one of the “5 Under 35” outstanding emerging writers by the National Book Foundation. She is the winner of a Fulbright Fellowship, fellowships at the MacDowell and Yaddo colonies, and a Baltic Writing Residency. Her short stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in publications such as The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, O Magazine, the Literary Review, The Yale Review, One Story, and elsewhere.
She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, and is the current Visiting Writer at Amherst College.
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