Friday, August 03, 2007
The Double Bind - Chris Bohjalian
I have loved every novel I’ve read of Chris Bohjalian’s. The Double Bind is no exception.
A taut, complex psychological thriller, this novel left me taken aback and perplexed at the end – had me skimming once again through the book from the beginning. To be honest, I’m still thinking about it. It’s that haunting, that rich with its layers of meaning and interpretation.
Writing a review of this book poses quite the dilemma. If you say too much, you’ll be giving away the heart and soul of its compelling uniqueness.
“When college sophomore Laurel Estabrook is attacked while riding her bicycle through Vermont’s back roads, her life is forever changed. Formerly outgoing, Laurel withdraws into her photography and begins to work at a homeless shelter. There she meets Bobbie Crocker, a man with a history of mental illness and a box of photographs that he won’t let anyone see. When Bobbie dies suddenly, Laurel discovers that he was telling the truth: before he was homeless, Bobbie Crocker was a successful photographer who had indeed worked with such legends as Chuck Berry, Robert Frost, and Eartha Kitt.”
What follows is Laurel’s quest to unravel the mystery of this homeless man’s life, his past – and how his life mysteriously intersects with her own.
Despite the fact others consider this pursuit an obsession, Laurel will not be swayed – she is intent upon her mission. As she follows the fascinating and disturbing clues, there is an urgency to her quest. Laurel senses that she too is being pursued.
The Double Bind explores the lengths to which our bodies and minds will go in order to survive. How we survive – how we rationalize, justify or perhaps bury the truth of our past and present lives in order to do so – makes for an engrossing, intriguing novel.