The Folded World

The Folded World

By (author) Amity Gaige

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September 2007 Booksense Notable Acclaimed for her excquisite prose and crystalline insights, Amity Gaige returns with "The Folded World," the story of an idealistic young social worker drawn into the lives of his mentally ill clients. Charlie Shade was born into a quiet, prosperous life, but a sense of injustice dogs him. He feels destined to leave his life of "bread and laundry," to work instead with people in crisis. On his way, he meets his kindred spirit in Alice, a soulful young woman, living helplessly by laws of childhood superstition. Charlie's empathy with his clients -- troubled souls like Hal, the high-school wrestling champion who undergoes a psychotic break, and Opal, the isolated young woman who claims "various philosophies have confused my life" -- is both admirable and nearly fatal. An adoring husband and new father, Charlie risks his own cherished, private domestic world to help Hal, Opal, and others move beyond their haunted inner worlds into the larger world of love and connection. A collision of extraordinary characters, "The Folded World" addresses the universal dilemma of love, wherein giving to another can seem like "the death of the world of oneself." With an unerring eye for both the joys and devastations of life, Amity Gaige once again reminds us of the pleasures and depths to be found in her fiction.

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  • Hardback | 348 pages
  • 154.9 x 231.1 x 30.5mm | 226.8g
  • 17 May 2007
  • Other Press LLC
  • New York
  • English
  • 1590512480
  • 9781590512487
  • 1,943,049

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Author Information

Amity Gaige Amity Gaige is a graduate of Brown University and the Iowa Writer's Workshop. She is the author of the acclaimed novel O My Darling, chosen by the National Book Foundation for its "5 Under 35" program to recognize the achievements of five first-time fiction writers each year. She teaches creative writing at Mount Holyoke College and lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. Visit her website at www.amitygaige.com.

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Review quote

"With a flavor of Lorrie Moore, graceful, bright, modern writing."

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Review text

An idyllic marriage is tested in this idiosyncratic examination of how the experience of love, its absence and its presence, can shape lives.Gaige was honored as one of the National Book Foundation's "5 [exceptional authors] under 35" for her debut, O My Darling (2005). Her second time around again showcases a gift for capturing the simultaneous proximity and distance in a relationship. But this darker story connects the romance of coupledom to the territory of madness. The lovers, Alice and Charlie, are both the products of their upbringings: she, the bookish daughter of a disappointed single mother; he, the likable, talented golden child of "wonderful, clear presences." Charlie's ambition - to be "good" - leads him to a career in social work, but his innocent impulses cause problems in his charmed life, which has been further graced by the birth of twin girls. Her husband's staying at work late leaves Alice lonely and mistrustful, while overstepping professional boundaries imperils both Charlie's clients and his career. Mania stalks the characters in many forms, some abstract, others tangible. The sense of threat that hangs over the proceedings is fed by Charlie's grandmother's premonition of violence, yet in a gathering whirlwind of a conclusion, the author dodges expectations, while reaching grandly for a multiple vision of love and restoration.Gaige's off-beat orientation, wit and piercing insights stand up to her first novel, this time in a more sober and less tidy narrative that offers greater breadth in exchange for sweetness. (Kirkus Reviews)

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