The Folded World by 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.

About Amity Gaige

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Amity GaigeAmity 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
Published March 29, 2011 by Other Press. 322 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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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.

May 01 2007 | Read Full Review of The Folded World

Publishers Weekly

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Gaige follows up on the 2006 National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" selection O My Darling with a measured account of a mildly troubled marriage and the hurdles faced by well-meaning social caseworkers.

Mar 12 2007 | Read Full Review of The Folded World

Entertainment Weekly

Bookworm Alice and idealistic Charlie fall in love, marry, and in short order, they're the parents of twins, living on Charlie's meager salary as a psychiatric social worker.

Apr 22 2007 | Read Full Review of The Folded World

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