This brilliant, genre-defying novel, like its main character, cannot be aptly described. Gertrude Unmanageable, one hundred and three years old (or thereabouts), arrives at Serenity, a geriatric facility in a town called Promise. From there, the novel wonders about love and reproduction as two distinct forms of life intersect, and Gertrude finds poignant pleasure in the unmanageable she insists she carry.
Reading Gertude Unmanageable is like watching an episode of Star Trek written by an author who has had the protective sheath removed from her nerve endings.
Gertrude Unmanageable is an odd duck. And so is Gertrude Unmanageable herself, the eponymous heroine of Deborah Schnitzer’s debut novel. Though it confuses and frustrates at moments, Gertrude is ultimately a heartwarming glimpse into the interior lives of characters plunged into an unanticipated and otherworldly situation.