Start reading The Folded World on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

The Folded World [Kindle Edition]

Amity Gaige
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $14.99 What's this?
Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.01 (33%)

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $9.99  
Hardcover $23.95  
Paperback $13.50  
Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Book Description

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.

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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.



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

[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: 449 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0812978544
  • Publisher: Other Press (March 29, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004N636GW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #635,538 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars lush prose, engaging story October 1, 2007
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.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Sophomore Effort! May 5, 2007
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.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very poetic May 26, 2007
A Kid's Review
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.
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishingly beautiful and riveting October 13, 2007
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!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A love story with wit and grace. June 17, 2007
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.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worker gets too social September 17, 2007
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.
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Common Plot June 19, 2007
The book has a common plot of boy meets girl and then life happens. The book is wonderfullly written and like life has love, anger, anxiety, disappointment etc. Life is a journey fraught with the unexpected. Gaige's prose has a poetic quality and her characters are real. The book is excellent.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful page-turner September 29, 2013
By Aoife
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved this book. It is a love story, but also so much more. Amity Gaige is such a gifted writer and the characters in this book broke my heart. So honest and beautiful.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars It was soooo painfully boring.
I kept reading hoping for some kind of plot, for anything, but I was skimming by the end. It was soooo painfully boring.
Published 3 months ago by Lori
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, poetic and moving
Amazing! Worth reading for the eloquent prose writing alone. Starts wonderfully and just gets better. The final 10% of the book was so rich and fascinating I had to read it again. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Stefan
4.0 out of 5 stars The complexities of humanity...
I loved the weaving of the characters in this story. Each one has its our story to tell and each one is intriguing.
A great read.
Published on April 16, 2013 by sbgriffith
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written but too long
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. Read more
Published on April 13, 2013 by Susan M.
4.0 out of 5 stars the Folded World
This book effectively transports you what those experiencing mental feel. I felt the characters were well developed and that I cared about them just before the end I felt the story... Read more
Published on March 20, 2013 by Amy Nislow
1.0 out of 5 stars This Is So Much More Inferior to "Schroeder"
After reading her latest novel, "Schroeder," which is so very very good, I was so disappointed in this slow paced novel about two characters, Charlie and Alice, married, and with... Read more
Published on February 21, 2013 by Eric Selby
5.0 out of 5 stars Small Lives Raise Cosmic Questions
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... Read more
Published on February 11, 2013 by KKD
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful read
I alternately wept and wondered at the complex emotional lives of the characters in The Folded World. Read more
Published on August 23, 2010 by Sarah Moore
1.0 out of 5 stars PAINFULLY DULL - book about nothing.
its clear that this author has some chops. a good writer, for sure. the prose was nice. the subject matter was a total bore.
this was painfully boring and about NOTHING. Read more
Published on September 21, 2009 by ja
Search Customer Reviews

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category