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The Double Bind | [Chris Bohjalian]

The Double Bind

When college sophomore Laurel Estabrook is attacked while riding her bicycle, her life is changed forever. She withdraws into her photography hobby and begins to work at a homeless shelter. There she meets Bobbie Crocker, a man with a box of photographs he won't let anyone see. When Bobbie dies suddenly, Laurel discovers that he was once a successful photographer. As her fascination begins to merge into obsession, she becomes convinced that some of his photographs reveal a dark family secret.
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Publisher's Summary

As the New York Times has said, "Few writers can manipulate a plot with [Chris] 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 20s and the 21st century.

When college sophomore Laurel Estabrook is attacked while riding her bicycle through Vermont's back roads, her life is changed forever. Formerly outgoing, Laurel withdraws into her photography hobby 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 before he was homeless, he was a successful photographer.

As Laurel's fascination with Bobbie's former life begins to merge into obsession, she becomes convinced that some of his photographs reveal a dark family secret.

In this spellbinding literary thriller, rich with complex and compelling characters, Chris Bohjalian takes listeners on his most intriguing, most haunting, and most unforgettable journey yet.

©2007 Chris Bohjalian; (P)2007 Books on Tape

What the Critics Say

"A tricky and intriguing premise." (Publishers Weekly)
"This elegantly crafted tale is well worth delving into." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (308 )
5 star
 (66)
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3.7 (74 )
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Story
3.7 (72 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Billie Lee Orenbuch Abington, PA, US 02-19-07
    Billie Lee Orenbuch Abington, PA, US 02-19-07 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
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    4
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    "Excellent Psychological Thriller"

    The story seems to fit into what I have begun to think of as a genre written specifically for people in the field of psychotherapy. The Interpretation of Murder was also in that genre. It's a mystery with a characteristically psychological twist. Whether based on fact or fiction, it works when it's well developed, as The Double Bind is.

    17 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dennis Washington, DC, United States 03-27-08
    Dennis Washington, DC, United States 03-27-08 Member Since 2002

    Tell us about yourself! I am a former high school history teacher and now, a semi-retired physician assistant.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    211
    ratings
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    102
    49
    FOLLOWERS
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    2
    1
    Overall
    "Only A Single"

    This novel resurrects F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and imagines what may have happened to a second child born to Daisy and Tom Buchanan. Is this literary license where all the characters accept the premise that Daisy and Tom were real people or is something else afoot? Some listeners may find the plot twist clever, but I found it unsatisfying. A second listen didn't help. Three stars for the innovative premise and for keeping me hooked until the disappointing ending.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda 03-25-07
    Linda 03-25-07 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
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    155
    12
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    1
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    "Disappointing Narrator"

    I wish I'd read this book instead of listened (first time I've felt that way). The narrator is so stiff and disconnected from her material that it distracted me from the writing. There's an interesting story with a whopper of a surprise ending, but I don't recommend this version. Read it instead.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbi El Segundo, CA, United States 04-03-07
    Debbi El Segundo, CA, United States 04-03-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
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    12
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    "A waste of time"

    Could have been an interesting and intriguing read/listen but was extremely disappointing. The ending was so stupid and simplistic that the author shoud have just settled for, "a miracle happened and everyone lived happily ever after." It would have been more believeable than the author's feeble attempt to end the so-called story.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lara Calgary, Alberta, Canada 05-08-08
    Lara Calgary, Alberta, Canada 05-08-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    REVIEWS
    67
    4
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    Overall
    "Simply Boring"

    The simplistic and cliche dialog prevented me from tolerating what could have been a half-decent story and plot. I didn't even download the second half.

    Better give this a miss - unless you're a budding novelist and want some tips on how not to write.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PaintPots The Hague Netherlands 06-10-07
    PaintPots The Hague Netherlands 06-10-07 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    61
    ratings
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    249
    21
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    3
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    Overall
    "Slow going"

    I slugged my way through this book but did get to the end. The plot premise is interesting, mostly in retrospect. Should be abridged so it is half as long. Then maybe the interesting bits could stand out.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jami E. Nettles Columbus, MS USA 04-23-07
    Jami E. Nettles Columbus, MS USA 04-23-07 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    401
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    Overall
    "Bad narration for weak book"

    Out of the several years I have subscribed to audible, this is the first narrator that I have just hated - her voice is lifeless and stilted and takes away from an already marginal book. The author was just not good enough to pull off this premise - too many silly or stereotypical details and not enough substance - and the narrator separates the listener even farther from the characters. This may be an OK book, but was a dud of a listen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    angus 03-19-07
    angus 03-19-07
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    "the double bind"

    this is a very self centered book...lots of politically correct judgements (eg he is a vegetarian, therefore a good and thoughtful person). fairly predictable and boring...ie I did not find it interesting or stimulating. if it is true, I am very very sorry that she had to go through this event and it is nice that she funneled her energies to help others. that is noble

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karyn Encino, CA, USA 03-12-07
    Karyn Encino, CA, USA 03-12-07 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    "Narrator misfit"

    I was so annoyed with the narrator that I could not bear to go on. The story was lost on me due to the very slow, languid, almost condensing tone of voice of the narrator. I will note her name.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michel Downingtown, PA, USA 03-08-07
    Michel Downingtown, PA, USA 03-08-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    3
    2
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    0
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    Overall
    "Not as described"

    It was OK entertainment. But one of quoted the reviewers promised "a twist at the end that will leave you speechless." There was no twist at the end. In the first half of the book, there is some intrigue about where the plot is headed, but in the second half, the author makes it absolutely clear where it is going, and then delivers as promised. The reader is not one of the really great narrators, but I found her acceptable.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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