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The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian
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Feb 02, 08

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Read in February, 2008

The Double Bind is a fascinating exploration of memory and mental-illness. The book opens with the main character Laurel's brutal attack while riding her bike on a deserted road. Years later, she works at a homeless shelter and meets a schizophrenic man, Bobbie Crocker, who has a collection of brilliant photographs. When Bobbie dies, Laurel finds herself obsessed with figuring out where the photographs came from and who the man behind the pictures was. In an interesting plot device Laurel happens to be from West Egg - which fans of F. Scott Fitzgerald may remember as the home to Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan. Laurel becomes convinced that Bobbie is related to the Buchanan family, and somehow perhaps the brutal attack many years earlier. Story and writing-wise, I did not find this book as compelling as Bohjalian's other novels, such as Midwives and Trans-Sister Radio, but there are some interesting twists, and I liked his ideas of how trauma affects recollection and future actions.
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