The Double Bind

The Double Bind

A Novel

Large Print - 2007
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Throughout his career, Chris Bohjalian has earned a reputation for writing novels that examine some of the most important issues of our time. With Midwives, he explored the literal and metaphoric place of birth in our culture. In The Buffalo Soldier, he introduced us to one of contemporary literature's most beloved foster children. And in Before You Know Kindness, he plumbed animal rights, gun control, and what it means to be a parent.
Chris Bohjalian's riveting fiction keeps us awake deep into the night. As The New York Times has said, Few writers can manipulate a plot with Bohjalian's grace and power. Now he is back with an ambitious new novel that travels between Jay Gatsby's Long Island and rural New England, between the Roaring Twenties and the twenty-first century.
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.
As Laurel's fascination with Bobbie's former life begins to merge into obsession, she becomes convinced that some of his photographs reveal a deeply hidden, dark family secret. Her search for the truth will lead her further from her old life--and into a cat-and-mouse game with pursuers who claim they want to save her.
In this spellbinding literary thriller, rich with complex and compelling characters--including Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan--Chris Bohjalian takes readers on his most intriguing, most haunting, and most unforgettable journey yet. From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York, NY : Random House Large Print, [2007]
Edition: First large print edition.
Copyright Date: ©2007
ISBN: 9780739327623
Branch Call Number: BOH
Characteristics: xii, 629 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

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t
TheBookPosse
Dec 07, 2015

Laurel Estabrook was brutally attacked while riding her bicycle on a country road six years ago. She is determined to lead a normal life and put it behind her. She finds satisfaction working for a homeless shelter in Burlington, VT. One of the residents passed away and it is Lauren’s job to go through his meager belongings. What she finds is amazing.
It is apparent that Bobbie Crocker had been a very talented photographer before his life fell apart. Laurel goes through the pictures of ordinary people and a few famous people before coming across a photo of herself on her bicycle that awful day just before the attack. As she looks the rest of the photos, she sees pictures from the place where she grew up on Long Island in an area best known as West Egg after F.Scott Fitzgerald immortalized it in his book The Great Gatsby.
Laurel recognizes the old Gatsby mansion as well as the Buchanan’s home. She sees childhood photos of Bobbie as a child with an older girl and their parents, Tom and Daisy. Laurel comes to believe that Bobbie was the child that Daisy had the year after the events of that scandalous summer. She becomes obsessed with finding the truth of who Bobbie was and why he had a picture of her from the worst day of her life. Instead of finding the truth about Bobbie, she will find her own truth.
I really liked this book. The story progresses as if The Great Gatsby had actually been a work of non-fiction. The Bobbie Crocker character is the heart of the story even though he is dead. The character was based on an actual homeless man named Bob “Soupy” Campbell who left behind some amazing photographs which can be seen throughout the book as well as at the author’s website. http://www.chrisbohjalian.com/campbell.html Some reviewers didn’t like the ending and I have mixed feelings about it, but it made sense and explained Laurel’s obsession over the photographs.
Available in large print, standard print, e-book and audio

bosco714 Apr 15, 2013

I thought this was well written and had a very good twist ending.

t
Tiffanyjohnson
Aug 12, 2012

Great read! Absolutely loved it! want to read it again along with The Great Gatsby (again) since the narratives overlap. Yes, definitely recommend reading that one and then Gatsby, or vice versa. Enjoy!

carrilis May 08, 2011

You will want to read The Great Gatsby again after you read this! I love how Bohjalian weaves Gatsby into this story! This is one of his better books.

dsbooks Apr 27, 2011

I like reading books with a connection to history. I thought this was interesting.

h
happy7
Mar 06, 2010

I found the ending to be disappointing, I would almost call it a cop out ending especially because I was intrigued throughout the book. There were too many characters and even though some of it makes sense by the end. I felt there were still many loose ends and unanswered questions or answers that didn't make sense. It almost felt unfinished and the ending left me feeling disappointed and upset. I was not familiar with Chris Bohjalian, this book did not turn me into a fan.

c
CindyLaBrie
Oct 10, 2009

Wow. What a fabulous book!

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t
Tiffanyjohnson
Aug 07, 2012

During college Laurel is attacked by masked men and barely survives. Later she is working as a social worker and a man comes into her homeless shelter with nothing on him but a box of old photographs he won't let anyone see. After the man passes away, Laurel becomes interested in both the history of the man and his box of photos. They contain a deep mystery that is somehow interconnected to the day she was attacked. The man and the photos are also connected to famous people from the early half of the century, including the famed Gatsbys and Buchanans from Fitzgerald's book, The Great Gatsby. The book also explores similar themes as Gatsby.

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