My review of Amity Gaige’s Schroder ran today in the Boston Globe.
Gaige’s plot is ripped from the headlines, borrowing from the real-life case of Clark Rockefeller. Like the fraudulent Rockefeller, her protagonist, Eric Schroder, is a German immigrant who borrows a famous name (in this case, Kennedy) in order to get ahead. When his dishonesty is revealed, he ends up on the run, kidnapping his only daughter. He’s not nearly as sinister as Rockefeller, however, more hapless and desperate, with an undercurrent of arrogance that leads him to make some terrible decisions.
Schroder’s personality, and his meandering road trip through upstate New York and New England, bear a striking similarity to Nabokov’s Humbert Humbert and the nomadic journeying in Lolita. I don’t think Gaige meant to intimate anything sordid about Schroder’s relationship with his daughter, but it’s also hard to not think about the connections if you’ve read both books. A quick, engaging read, Schroder manages to get you interested in a character who should be offputting, and asks some interesting questions about how much of our identity we’re capable of shaping, and how much we simply must accept as immutable.