Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Double Bind

While this book was cleverly written and startled me by its end, (hey...I did have it figured out about 7/8ths of the way through. Yes...I'm quite the sleuth.) I was left unsatisfied by the big reveal and don't believe it brought the book the resolution it needed.

The Double Bind weaves the classic The Great Gatsby into the tragic story of a girl trying to recover mentally and physically after she was brutally attacked by two men while on a bicycle ride through a forest in Vermont. When a homeless man dies at the shelter she works at and leaves a box of photographs of the rich and famous from earlier decades, she becomes obsessed with figuring out the mystery of who he was, especially as some of the photographs have links to her own childhood and one mysteriously of the day of her attack.

As she loses herself in this homeless man's mental illness and history, she starts to lose her own frail grasp of reality in her tightly controlled world of work, love and friendship.

I wish I had the energy to go back and see if the author is really consistent with his story. My memory doubts that he could be, and I have lots of "but what about"s rolling around in my head. But, I have to hand it to him, he got me.

This reminded me of The Thirteenth Tale in its rhythmic uncovering of the past and surprise ending, but it's much more brutal and much less polished. I loved rediscovering the classic Gatsby and this book made me want to read Fitzgerald's masterpiece all over again.

This is a very suitable choice for a spirited book club discussion.

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