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The Folded World Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Length: 322 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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. Gorgeous and dark-haired Alice Bussard, the 22-year-old daughter of a librarian, leaves "shabby" hometown Gloucester, Mass., to find bigger and better in a nearby (and unnamed) city. What she finds, however, is a job as a dentist's receptionist and the attention of 25-year-old, big-eared Midwestern transplant Charlie Shade, who is finishing his master's in social work. Before long, they're married and Charlie's found an underpaid and overworked job. They have twins, and Charlie's dedication to his work—and two patients, Hal Kramer and Opal Ludlow, specifically—sparks domestic tension (Alice is predictably tempted by another man), professional trouble and physical danger. Alice's mother comes to help with the kids, but ends up sharing with Alice the truth Alice would rather not hear about the father she never knew. Gaige's sophomore effort is polished and competent, with measured doses of dry humor leavening overwrought prose . Details about the mechanisms of the social work system are convincing, as is Gaige's portrayal of a young marriage on the rocks, but the narrative may be too tidy for some. (May)
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Review

Reviews...

Nancy Pearl Book Reviews - NPR

Nancy Pearl Puget Sound Public Radio
"In reading [The Folded World] I was struck by three things: Gaige's crystalline prose, the three-dimensionality of all of her characters, even the minor ones, and her ability to convey the darkness in the mind's of Charlie's clients, who are suffering from schizophrenia or other mental illnesses. Gaige takes what is really just an ordinary plot (boy meets girl; boy marries girl; problems ensue) and offers us something very special indeed"


Kirkus Reviews

STARRED Review
[T]his darker story connects the romance of coupledom to the territory of madness... Gaige’s off-beat orientation, wit and piercing insights... [offer] greater breadth in exchange for sweetness.


Library Journal

Indeed, it is exhilarating to see Alice... transform herself into a competent woman. This alchemy, in concert with a beautiful story wonderfully told, makes this highly recommended for all fiction collections.

Entertainment Weekly

In her exquisitely written second novel, Gaige explores the ups and downs of a fragile, mostly joyful young relationship: Charlie's overcommitment to his mentally ill clients; Alice's fleeting attraction to a bookstore clerk; their infant daughter's first, tentative steps. The bitterness and disillusion of marriage have been thoroughly plumbed in contemporary fiction; Gaige is one of the rare novelists who is more interested in its potential for happiness and grace.


Christian Science Monitor

Yvonne Zipp
Gaige (one of the National Book Foundation's "5 under 35") writes elegantly, and she makes the survival of this young marriage a question of grace. Grade: A-


The New York Times Book Review

Jeff Turrentine
"[A] tightly written and emotionally satisfying novel….Gaige, the author of the well-received no...

Product Details

  • File Size: 668 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Other Press (March 29, 2011)
  • Publication Date: March 29, 2011
  • Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004N636GW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #853,499 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Some novels are richly written on the word and sentence level, and they are best read slowly with care paid to the precise language. Many more novels are well-constructed with compelling characters and are easy to read. To me, the best novels are both, and The Folded World fits into this category.

If you're not a particularly careful reader (you just want a "good read"), you can fly through this book--getting to know the complex characters, seeing their conflicts through, and disappearing into the "folds" of their world. You may or may not realize that it's beautiful, precise writing that makes it such a satisfying read, but you'll be satisfied.

If you like to read with more attention to the diction, imagery, and techniques of the author, you're sure to see the poetry in Gaige's writing. The first five or ten pages are among the most well-crafted I've ever read. And the rest of the book is lovely, too.
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Format: Hardcover
This book was engaging from the start, drawing the reader deeper into the lives of the two main characters with the turning of each page. I found myself thinking about the novel while at work, eager to get home and keep reading. The writing is lucid, gracefully capricious, and its unfixedness is both surprising and refreshing. I highly recommend this book to anyone.
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A Kid's Review on May 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I got this book after Entertainment Weekly named it as an EW Pick a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, I find the narrative so steeped in poetic language and flowery simile and metaphor that I am kind of bored by page 30. I guess I just don't really like reading a novel that's so...sorry, I don't know a synonym for it...poetic that it reads more like the Iliad than a novel. The associations that the female protagonist makes every few paragraphs create tangents that I just don't find interesting. I was hoping to be introduced to two interesting people and see how they get along, but it reads more like the protagonists are metaphysical beings who populate a surreal world. Not my bag, I suppose.
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Format: Hardcover
The comments in the Publisher's Weekly review shocked me when I read them after just finishing an all-day marathon reading of The Folded World. "The narrative may be too tidy for some"? Goodness, what does the reviewer think of other beautifully written and satisfyingly plotted books by the likes of Anne Tyler and Barbara Kingsolver? I was utterly engrossed in the unfolding of the story (no pun intended) and entranced by the author's imagery and understanding of human nature. Ms. Gaige, you are wonderful!
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Format: Hardcover
Alice and Charlie come from very different worlds. How they meet, how they delight in one another, and how they live together in the midst of their very profound differences is part of the magic of this love story. It is a love story that opens to embrace the light and shadow of two human beings with wit and grace.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Alice and Charlie are a naïve and handsome young couple who have an idyllic marriage with twin daughters. Alice has given up on college and career to look after her mother, Marlene, and Charlie is a dedicated idealistic social worker, dealing with psychotic patients.
A serpent enters paradise as Charlie become a workaholic, overly involved with one of his clients, Opal, and Alice gets slightly entangled with another one, Hal.
I was a little put off by the ethereal sentimentality at the beginning, describing Alice and Charlie's childhoods, but that may be just me. I tend to like dry wit and harsh satire. I thought Alice and Charlie were a little to good to be true. It's different strokes for different folks. I thought the parts describing the illnesses of Opal and Hal were very good, but it's precisely those that the New York Times critic disliked. Gaige seem to know what working with chronic psychotic patients is like. I'd recommend this to anyone contemplating a career in social work.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Do jealous Gods destroy the lives of humans who dare to love intensely and openly? Does Time render mortal love finite in quantity, such that the love given to one individual necessarily leaves less for all others? Do imagination and emotion fling open the doors to insanity? Does self-preservation mandate the denial of passion, or is such denial actually a slow form of suicide by self-starvation? Is happiness a naive illusion that is destroyed when one confronts these questions, or can some of us actually forge a greater, more enduring happiness by confronting them? Amity Gaige asks these questions of the "everyday" characters of her stunning novel, "The Folded World," a work in which even the sturdiest individuals are, in fact, in mortal peril. A brilliant novel that will cause its readers to question their own rank on the continuum we carelessly call "sanity."
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Amity Gaige has a talent for marvelous descriptive paragraphs that grab you from the beginning. The story itself is insightful and has thoughtfully crafted characters. However, like so many current books and movies, good editing does not exist. The book bogs down 2/3rds of the way through. There is extensive fore-shadowing of consequences and when they finally occur, it's almost a relief.
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