The Folded World, by Amity Gaige
(New York: Other Press, 2007)
"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."
"At the moment she was born, five hundred miles away, a small boy, his mouth ringed with jam, paused in his play on the carpet."
(Quickly, as I'm both backlogged and -- having gotten up at 2:45 to catch an early flight -- tired.) OK after a bit of a slow, confusing start, but not exceptional. Yet another meta-critique that may or may not have been what the author intended: for a novel that's all about how there are typically many more facets and much more complexity to an individual or a relationship than what we see on the surface, the novel almost seems too much aware of its own intricacy ... to the detriment of the characters and plot.