Thursday, March 7, 2013

Schroder (Amity Gaige)

Amity Gaige’s Schroder is an exquisitely written novel that takes the reader completely inside a confession to the main character’s wife.  From the beginning, you know that the confessor, Erik Schroder, is a very unreliable narrator, so from that point forward, you don’t know whether to believe anything he says. 

The novel begins with Erik as a young boy living in Boston, having recently immigrated into the country from Germany with his father.  On a whim, he impulsively changes his name to Eric Kennedy on a summer camp application, and from that point on, that alias is what he is known by (unbeknownst to his father).  He grows up, gets married to Laura, and eventually they have a daughter, Meadow.  The family is happy for awhile, but as often happens nowadays, they grow apart.  Eric is not happy with his child’s custody arrangement and so decides to take matters into his own hands by kidnapping her.  The reader believes that Meadow is perfectly safe in Eric’s hands, but Schroder gets more and more intense when she discovers this may not be entirely true.

Gaige’s choice to use Eric’s written confession to Laura as her storytelling method works incredibly well.  Schroder is very hard to put down, and even though Eric has been lying his whole life, the reader sympathizes with him, even through the abduction of his daughter.  However, I needed much more closure and confrontation at the end and wish that Gaige had satisfied these wishes.  I was left with more questions than anything, and that’s not how I like my books to end.  However, Gaige works wonders with words, making Schroder a totally worthwhile read.