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Bound: A Novel Hardcover – September 28, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; First Edition edition (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596915757
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596915756
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,327,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nelson's (Talking in Bed) first novel in 10 years is set largely in the author's childhood town of Wichita, Kans. Catherine Desplaines and her husband, Oliver, are at a crossroads in their marriage. The much older Oliver has perfected a pattern: marry, stay around for 15 years, then trade up to a younger woman. He and Catherine have been married for 18 years, which might seem impressive if Oliver didn't have a mistress, known only as œthe Sweetheart.  Catherine is too preoccupied to notice his infidelities since she's become the guardian of an old friend's teenage daughter, Cattie, after the friend dies suddenly. The girl's impending arrival sends Catherine's mind reeling back to her adolescence, when the infamous BTK (bind-torture-kill) serial killer, who coincidentally makes a reappearance in the novel's present day, terrorized the neighborhood. Plays on the idea of œbinding  can grow precious at times, but Nelson effectively explores issues of obligation, responsibility, and the possibility of creating new patterns and freeing ourselves from the past. Chapters from the perspectives of Oliver, Catherine, Cattie, and even Cattie's dog assemble into a coherent, compassionate whole.
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* A short story writer of exhilarating wit and empathy, Nelson returns to the novel after a decade with heightened authority. Tightly coiled, edgy, and funny, this complex tale of transcendent friendship begins with a spectacular death: Misty, a single mother, drives off a cliff. Her surviving daughter, Cattie, is named after Catherine, Misty’s best friend way back when they were young and wild in Wichita. Misty was poor and scrappy; pretty Catherine was the daughter of professors. Wealthy, childless, and married to her much older third husband, philandering Oliver, Catherine is still contending with her rigorous mother’s piercing disapproval even though a stroke has stolen Grace’s ability to speak. It’s a shock to learn that Misty is dead, that she had a daughter, and that Catherine is her namesake’s guardian. Cattie runs away from her Vermont boarding school, embarking on a cross-country odyssey as risky, if not as much fun, as the mad adventures her mother and Catherine miraculously survived. With the supreme recklessness of teen girls, Oliver’s farcical yet poignant dilemmas, Grace’s toughness, a resurgent serial killer, an AWOL soldier, and compelling canine characters, Nelson’s sleekly powerful turbine of a novel riffs cannily on the many meanings of “bound.” --Donna Seaman

More About the Author

Antonya Nelson is the author of seven short story collections and four novels. She teaches creative writing at the University of Houston and in the Warren Wilson MFA Program. Her awards include the Rea Award for Short Fiction, Guggenheim and NEA Fellowships, and an American Artists Award. She lives in Telluride, Colorado, Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Houston, Texas.

Customer Reviews

I found the characters to be very one dimensional, and hard to like.
Most of them weren't people I felt like getting to know better and it was hard to care what happened to them.
Cheryl B. Dale
I just finished it and had a hard time getting through the last half.
A. Schmidt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Alexia VINE VOICE on November 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book was very highly recommended to me. I'm always looking for a story that grabs me by the throat and won't let go, so was looking forward to reading this "guaranteed awesome" book! My verdict? Not bad, but not awesome either.

The story followed several different characters and, as I read the majority of it during my lunch hour, it was a little confusing at times to keep track of everyone. Would have probably been easier if I'd read it straight through, but who has time to do that nowadays?

Catherine and Oliver are a married couple, and I think they're supposed to be the main characters. There's also Catherine's mother, Catherine's childhood friend and her daughter, Oliver's children and ex-wives, Oliver's mistress, and another woman who I didn't figure out how she fit into the mix until the end of the book. All in all, a little confusing.

The book starts off with Catherine's childhood friend dying in a car accident, and the ripple effects from the accident are felt by all of the other characters. Can't say that I really cared for any of the characters, as they were all a little unlikable. Not unlikable like evil bad guys, just unlikable as in flawed and/or weak. I think I liked the orphaned teenager Cattie the most, as she seemed the only one to have a backbone and any character.

Gave this one a 3/5 as it was okay, just wasn't for me. Nelson is a talented writer and I had no complaints about the story structure or pacing or anything, I just didn't care for the characters or the plot. Think someone else might enjoy this more than I did.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By danielle on January 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this book extremely hard to get through. The incredible amount of tedious detail of completely unnecessary facts was unbelievable. I found the characters to be very one dimensional, and hard to like. When I read a good book, I find myself completely lost in their world; with this book, it was like reading stereo instructions. I found the writing to be pretentious. Such a disappointment.
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Format: Hardcover
Antonya Nelson's fourth novel is a quiet character study of the bonds of family and friendship, at times fragile and at others strong as steel. Nelson plumbs the interior lives of a small but intriguing collection of characters, probing for some understanding of these often inexplicable ties.

Set in Nelson's birthplace of Wichita, Kansas (a locale she makes no attempt to glamorize), BOUND focuses on three women, one of whom dies in a car accident as the novel opens. Misty Mueller, the victim, is the mother of 15-year-old Cattie, who flees her exclusive Vermont boarding school when she learns of her mother's death. The other member of the triangle is Catherine Desplaines, third wife of Oliver, more than 20 years her senior, a prosperous Wichita businessman with an insatiable appetite for younger women.

When Misty dies, her childhood friend Catherine discovers she's been named Cattie's guardian, indeed that the girl has been named after her. That revelation triggers an evocative chain of reminiscences of the years Catherine and Misty spent growing up together in Wichita. They are an improbable pair: Misty, who lives with her grandmother and a dubious group of male relatives "who sat unmoving like volcanoes, simmering," and "drank is if to quench the heat inside," and Catherine, the daughter of a feminist college professor, "noisy and imperious, possessing moral certainty and a confident, no nonsense heart.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Roose on December 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was both on the NYTimes notable book list and recommended reading in The New Yorker.
I read it in 24 hours, because I could not put it down. I loved the style, the characters and the setting, but I loved the various dogs in the book the most. A very worthwhile read. I'm looking forward to reading her other work now.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susan K. Schoonover VINE VOICE on January 21, 2013
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed the novel BOUND by Antonya Nelson particularly for its memorable characters and well rendered settings. The book is ostensibly about Catherine a childless trophy wife who discovers she has been named guardian for Catty the fifteen year old daughter of a deceased friend from high school that she has not been in contact with for years. During the course of the novella we learn seemingly all there is to know about Catherine's entire life in Wichita, Kansas and just a bit less about Catty's childhood and early teen years first in Houston and then at an East Coast boarding school and finally in Kansas with Catherine and her much older husband a selfish successful businessman. I really admire the way Nelson is able to create genuine fully developed characters that may not always be very likable but are always very real. The author seems to have had a theme centering on dogs in mind that is never fully clarified so I am taking a star off for this aspect which is hinted at but not fully developed.
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