Meet Chris Bohjalian, the M. Night Shyamalan of the literary world.
Bohjalian is no stranger to literary success, especially thanks to the Big O - his novel Midwives
was an Oprah selection – but The Double Bind
was one of those books you can't.put.do
wn. I am not joking - I took this with me everywhere until I finished it, in about a day-and-a-half. Bath, bed, in the car, you name it.
I refuse to give the ending away, because it is just one of those freakish plot twists that has you immediately diving back into the text for clues, but here's the overview: Laurel is a young coed recovering from a brutal attack that took place during a peaceful backwoods bike ride, and is finding solace in her work with a homeless shelter. It's there she becomes entangled/obsessed with the life of an older recluse that has passed away, leaving boxes of photography as his legacy. In that box lays clues to a mystery she's determined to uncover. Alongside this is Laurel's running commentary about her young life in West Egg.
Bohjalian's prose is natural – the story flows well and readers are immediately drawn to the bevy of characters. Themes about homelessness and mental illness dominate the novel, and it moves at a quick pace. If you're one of those readers, who, when caught up in the frenzy of an exciting book will start to skim pages because you're desperate to get to the end – don't. Take the time to fret about Laurel and those surrounding her. Will they help her? Can they help her? Is Laurel going to find the peace she so deserves?
I've read Midwives, Skeletons At The Feast, The Buffalo Soldier, and Before You Know Kindness – all excellent reads – but this by far is my favorite.