You win some, you lose some. This is one of the latter. After Laline Paull’s The Bees which had been on my to-listen list for a very long time, and turned out so well, I took a chance on “The Double Bind”, and am sorely disappointed.
The Double Bind is about Laura Estabrook, a young social worker, who has had a majorly traumatic event in the past. The trauma haunts her to the present day, and when she encounters through her work, a homeless man, who has photographs which could be related to the events of that horrific day, it turns her life upside down.
Bohjalian’s writing is mesmerizing, it sucks you in and doesn’t let go – and this from me, who’s only actually only heard the book, not even read it. I emphasize the distinction, because it is harder to focus on an audiobook than a regular book. While listening to an audiobook, and I listen in the car, amid teeming traffic, it is easier to get distracted and drift off, because the eyes are not focussed on a particular object. An audiobook is a true test of how good the book actually is. In that “were-you-hooked sense, Bohjalian’s book passes with flying colors.
So you wonder – why the 2 stars? I do not wish to give away the book, so all I can say is this – The Double Bind uses a literary trope, which when done well, makes an outstanding, suspense-filled, didn’t-see-that-coming book/film etc. Unfortunately, Bohjalian’s use of this trope is shoddy and fraught with holes. He changes the rules of the game to suit his end, and I as a reader/listener feel like I’ve been taken for a ride. This is especially annoying also because this happens pretty much at the end, when I’ve already listened to most of the book. The Double Bind is humming along nicely, and there are some great plot twists, a nice sense of mystery, and then it all goes splat. That’s 11 hours and 27 minutes of my life I will never get back.
I did like the narrator Susan Denaker. I think she did a great job and I would listen to her again.