Issue #173: The Soul Keeps the Body Up

Excerpts rarely work as stand alone pieces, but our new issue, “The Soul Keeps the Body Up,” feels complete all on its own. A part of Amity Gaige’s novel, Schroder (just-released by Grand Central), this heartfelt father-daughter story will keep you on the edge of your seat. It was brought to us by contributing editor Will Allison, and so I will now place the introduction reins into his very capable hands. -HT

Is it possible to kidnap one’s own daughter and still be a good parent? The story in our current issue, Amity Gaige’s “The Soul Keeps the Body Up,” suggests the answer might not be as clear-cut as you’d think. The first time I read the story, I was struck by the sweetness and lightness of the rapport between the narrator, Eric, and his six-year-old daughter, Meadow. Their love for one another—their ability to click—shines through on every page, even as Eric gives in to his most reckless instincts, leading his father-in-law on a high-speed car chase with Meadow in the backseat. As Amity observes in our Q&A with the author, Eric treats Meadow more like a peer than a kid. Sometimes the results are touching, other times darkly comic. The good news is, if you love this story as much as we do, there’s more. “The Soul Keeps the Body Up” is an excerpt from Amity’s third novel, Schroder, which is due out in February, and which is receiving raves from the likes of Jennifer Egan, Jonathan Franzen (“The measure of Gaige’s great gift as a storyteller is that she persuades you to love a narrator who shouldn’t be lovable”), Adam Haslett (“You will not want to put this book down”), and David Bezmozgis (“Amity Gaige has written a flawless book”). Here at One Story, we rarely come across an excerpt we feel can stand on its own—and stand out—as a short story, but we hope you’ll agree this one is a gem.

3 thoughts on “Issue #173: The Soul Keeps the Body Up

  1. What’s up with the use of the phrase “free range” as on page 15 “an infant given free range”? Is it meant to be a subtle joke on the author’s part, comparing children with chickens or something? Or is it used to express the quirky voice of the protagonist? Does the author understand the term “free range”? Does the editor? It reads like the author meant to say “free rein.”

  2. Pingback: Amity Gaige: “The Soul Keeps the Body Up” from One Story #173, 12/25/12 | A Just Recompense

  3. Firstly, I wondered about the ‘free range’ phrase. I can’t find my copy – I’ve been “tidying” ie “losing” stuff, though it will turn up – so I can’t check it. At one point I thought I’d imagined it.

    HOWEVER, a small nitpick, and my only one. I loved the story. I liked the scope of the subject matter, which (i don’t think) is too often addressed. I think it could only be given a fair balance by a woman, in a way; a man writing it would be accused (no matter how unfairly) of simply pursuing an agenda. I don’t normally like stories that “address issues” so to speak, but mainly because they are usually so badly done. With writing like this, the issue is in the hands of an expert. After all, I don’t read stories because the issues in them appeal to me; like most readers, I want a story primarily, and Amity Gaige really delivers.

    It was all plausible, never went too far with the humor or the pathos. Car chases are so hard to put over in print, I think, but this one is portrayed really well. The dialogue was all very natural and believable too, especially in the interactions with the people by the lake.

    All in all, a great tale, and I look forward to Schroder a lot.

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