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Fact and fiction become indistinguishable in The Double Bind: The story centers on Laurel Estabrook, a young social worker and survivor of a near-rape, who stumbles across photographs taken by a formerly homeless client and tries to understand how a man who'd taken snapshots of celebrities in the 50s and 60s might have wound up on the streets. However, an author's note tells us that Bohjalian conceived this book after being shown a batch of old photographs taken by a once-homeless man; and the actual photos of Bob "Soupy" Campbell are peppered throughout the text. In another neat twist, Bohjalian's resurrects details from The Great Gatsby, which become "real" in the context of his own novel--Laurel lives in West Egg; part of her hunt for her photographer's past involves meeting with the descendants of Daisy and Tom Buchanan.
As a writer who counts The Great Gatsby as one of the books that changed her life, this inclusion was both startling and remarkable for me. Who doesn't want one's favorite characters to come to life--even if it's only within the constraints of another fictional work? But Bohjalian chose his text wisely: no discussion of The Great Gatsby is complete without alluding to missed opportunities and unreliable sources--critical elements in Laurel's quest. And therein lies Bohjalian's true double bind: all stories--even the ones we tell ourselves--are subject to our own interpretation, and to the degree we can make others believe them.
The Double Bind may flirt with the classics, but it's not your father's stuffy old tome: it's the sort of book you want to read in one sitting, and it packs a twist at the end that will leave you speechless. It also, worthily, spotlights the cause of homelessness in a way that isn't preachy, but honest and explanatory. Ultimately, what Bohjalian's done is offer his lucky readers another reminder of why he's such an extraordinary author: by creating characters that become so real we lose the distinction between truth and embellishment; by reminding us that the story of any life--whether fictional, functional, or marginal--is one to be savored. --Jodi Picoult
Thank goodness this was not the first Bohjalian book I picked up. I would have never read another book by him. The whole story is SO fake. Read morePublished 22 days ago by D. Luzar
What drew me to the book were the pictures which were real. What I wondered was how the author was going to meld the facts
presented in the book with a non fiction book. Read more
The Double Bind is a novel about a rape survivor who ends up working at a homeless shelter. After one of her short-term residents dies, she is in charge of taking care of his old... Read morePublished 27 days ago by Amber Gregg
While Laurel was in college, two men attacked her while she was cycling alone in Underhill, Vermont. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Patti
Another good book by Bohjalian. It had a very interesting premise and outcome.Published 1 month ago by satisfied customer
The Double Bind
by Chris Bohjalian
Laurel Estabrook is viciously attacked when riding her bicycle along a quiet road in Vermont. Read more