Thursday, November 18, 2010


Antonya Nelson's novel, Bound, is an interesting, thought provoking read. As I have finished the last page I know already that I will need to ponder this one for a while and let it digest.
There are a few different story lines taking place in this novel. As the story begins, a woman is driving by herself, accidentally running off a mountain road. She hangs from her seatbelt, her dog running around by the car, eventually leaving the scene of the accident.
Catherine and Oliver have been married for almost twenty years. She is his third wife, significantly younger as Oliver keeps on trading his wives in as they age. Her mother is in a nursing home, only a few years older than her daughter's husband.
Cattie, a fifteen year old, has been sent to a boarding school in Vermont. She is a bit of a behavior problem at home, and her mother has sent her away.

All of these storylines are connected- Cattie is the daughter of Misty, the woman killed in the car accident. Misty and Catherine had been best friends in high school, and now Catherine finds herself the guardian of Cattie.

While this is occurring, a serial killer is on the loose in Wichita, the town that Catherine and Oliver live in, bringing back memories for Catherine of her high school years when the serial killer struck the family next door to Misty's house.

After I have had a bit longer, I think I will continue to find connections in this novel- ways in which this writing is brilliant.
Bound, the title, is significant, I'm sure. Oliver feels bound to Catherine, his third wife, even though he is involved in an affair. Catherine feels bound to honor Misty's request to raise her child. Cattie feels bound to her mother even after her death, still placing her mother's opinions and feelings in almost everything that happens to her.
I have also thought a bit about Nelson's characters. My first inclination is to feel sorry for Misty, the person she appears to be at the time of the accident. Somehow the image I had envisioned was not the Misty I ended up getting to know. And while Misty's ability to make something of her life should be noted, I didn't really relate to her. Cattie and her rebelliousness make her rather unlikeable, and yet, her need for someone to take care of her is endearing. I have similar reactions to both Oliver and Catherine. Some books have a cast of characters that I love and can imagine being friends with. Not so with this book. However, all of them were well developed and multi-faceted - real people with flaws.
While this book was not easy to get into - written in an almost detached manner, I was curious how the various storylines would connect, and ended up enjoying it.

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