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The Double Bind  By  cover art

The Double Bind

By: Chris Bohjalian
Narrated by: Susan Denaker
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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 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 before he was homeless, Bobbie Crocker 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 deeply hidden, dark family secret and falls into 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 Chris Bohjalian takes listeners on his most intriguing, most haunting, and most unforgettable journey yet. 

©2007 Chris Bohjalian (P)2007 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"Laurel Estabrook, a young social worker living in Vermont, becomes obsessed with a box of photographs that belonged to a deceased homeless man, Bobbie Crocker. An amateur photographer herself, Laurel wonders how someone as destitute as Crocker came to possess such high-quality photos, many of them featuring famous people and, bizarrely, Laurel's childhood town. As she devotes more and more time to researching Crocker's past, her friends and family become concerned for her mental well-being. Six years previously, Laurel was attacked by two men in the woods while riding her bike, and though she recovered enough to finish college and get a job, she remains fragile. Bohjalian, whose Midwives was an Oprah Book Club selection, adds original and creative elements to this tale by blending the story of The Great Gatsby with Laurel's story and including photographs by a real-life homeless man named Bob Campbell. Far from being simply a mystery story, this is a complex exploration of the human psyche and its efforts to heal and survive in whatever manner possible. Recommended for all fiction collections. (Library Journal, starred review)

"This elegantly crafted tale is well worth delving into." (Booklist)

"A tricky and intriguing premise." (Publishers Weekly

What listeners say about The Double Bind

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    132
  • 4 Stars
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  • 2 Stars
    39
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Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 Stars
    64
  • 3 Stars
    35
  • 2 Stars
    10
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    5
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 Stars
    62
  • 3 Stars
    43
  • 2 Stars
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    15

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

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.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

very bad

Poorly read, I will keep the readers name so as not to get another book read by her. Very boring, but I don't know if that to is the readers fault. Didn't finish just to boring.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Horrible!!

Where is the rating for negative stars???This has got to be the most poorly written and poorly read book - In fact I can't decide which is worse - although I suppose I should blame the author - had he not conceived such ridiculous descriptions, dialogue, and drama - the reader would never have had to put her stiff voice to the microphone!

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Ugh

I had no trouble with the narrator, and thought the story was just fine. I was curious about how things would play out, as the author had painted himself into a number of corners, and, no doubt, would come up with some clever explanation for things that appeared to have happened.

Those that gave up on the book partway cheated themselves. They thought they were reading a bad book. Had they continued on to the end, though, they could have truly appreciated just what a horrible book this was.

When a reader expends a certain amount of time reading (or listening to) a story, the author should at least show a little respect for the reader. This author failed at that.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Couldn't stop listening

This book is one that I couldn't put down(since it's audio,couldn't stop listening).But I was sorry when the novel ended. Wonderful how the author makes the reader take an honest look at current economic and social issues in the US while telling a fascinating story. This is the fist time I've read one of his novels and I want more. Try it, I guarantee you'll be wisked away into this intriguing novel.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

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.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

3 people found this helpful