When Laurel Estabrook is attacked while out riding her bike one Sunday afternoon, her life is changed forever. She begins work at a shelter for the homeless and there meets Bobbie Crocker, a man with a history of mental illness and a box full of photos he won't let anyone see. When Bobbie dies suddenly, Laurel discovers that he was once a successful photographer, and her fascination with his former life begins to merge into obsession, not least because some of the photos are of the very same forest trail where she was ...
When Laurel Estabrook is attacked while out riding her bike one Sunday afternoon, her life is changed forever. She begins work at a shelter for the homeless and there meets Bobbie Crocker, a man with a history of mental illness and a box full of photos he won't let anyone see. When Bobbie dies suddenly, Laurel discovers that he was once a successful photographer, and her fascination with his former life begins to merge into obsession, not least because some of the photos are of the very same forest trail where she was attacked and nearly killed. Laurel becomes convinced that his photos reveal a deeply hidden, dark family secret. Her search for the truth leads her further from her own life and into a cat-and-mouse game with pursuers who claim they want to save her.
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I have read many of Chris Bohjalian's books and consider this to be one of his very best. As always he covers topical issues with insight and compassion. This book also contains some wonderful B&W photos (won't tell more because this review would become a "spoiler") which are beautifully reproduced. Read it today!
Jul 12, 2011
"And it was all a dream"
Bohjalian violates a Creative Writing 101 rule: never write a story that you end with a cop-out like "It was all a dream." That's exactly what the author does here by creating a story that we later find out was narrated by a mentally ill woman. So we don't know (or in my case, care) what was "true" or not. I was also annoyed by the author's use of characters from The Great Gatsby, so early on I knew something was up. Yes, the story has its shocking and memorable moments, but far too much introspection on behalf of the narrator, and I can't forgive Bohjalian for not figuring out a better way to make his characters work in the world he created.
Aug 25, 2009
I thought I was reading one story... but then it got flipped, turned upside down at the end and all of a sudden I had to rethink the entire book!!!! WOW!!!! Amazing story (ies)!!! My book club still mentions some of the more disturbing parts to this book because we were shocked by how graphic it was. The story that follows the trajedy really makes you want to get out your psychology books! Excellent book club discussion book!
Sep 19, 2008
Great Gatsby readers must read
Completely intriguing till the end which I didn't see coming. I had to go back to the beginning to appreciate the impact of the ending. This was a great follow-up for our book club which read the Great Gatsby last year. Thanks to a friend for this recommendation. I'm delighted to discover this new author. Looking forward to reading more.
Jul 31, 2008
Good but not great
More and more authors are trying to enlighten the reading community by thoughtfully discussing some of our social ills. Homelessness is certainly one of our nation?s problems. In this novel the issues are handled in thoughtful and unanticipated ways. This is certainly not one of my favorite books but the story held my attention and I?m glad I read it.
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