Friday, April 18, 2008

The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian ( 0 / 5 Stars)

As a fan of both The Great Gatsby and of novels with unique premises, I had such high hopes for this novel and was actually awaiting it's date of publication. Unfortunately, I was left disappointed. The Double Bind felt empty to me.

However, the biggest problem that I had with this book is that Bohjalian seemed to have a very, very (let me stress VERY)hard time writing from a female point of view. This was especially glaring due to the traumatic and deeply female nature of the plot line propelling Laurel's story through the narrative. Early on, Laurel is sexually attacked while on a bike ride. This experience shapes the rest of the story and ends in a very sloppily written "surprise ending". Bohjalian's lack of insight into the female mind left everything Laurel said and did feeling hollow and somehow wrong. Some writers are particularly adept at writing from the perspective of the opposite sex; Bohjalian is not one of these writers - at least not in this book (I have heard that he has mastered this in other works).

I wonder if all the rave reviews for this book are simply a case of the emperor having no clothes or if people are so enthralled with the albeit interesting Great Gastby angle that they are distracted from the fact that at it's core, this just isn't that great of book?

If you are looking for a well written and imaginative book using characters from well-known, classic fiction pick up Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series beginning with The Eyre Affair.

No comments: