Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Dear Reader, Love Abby Bardi

Dear Reader…

There’s an old Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.”

The 1960s were an interesting time.

In my novel Double Take, Rachel Cochrane has had to navigate a city where the police are menacing, demonstrations crowd the streets of downtown, and drugs have taken the lives of people she knows. At the heart of this chaos is her relationship with her best friend, Bando. She left this environment behind when she went away to college in California, fell in love with an artist named Michael, then graduated with no idea what to do with her life. In 1975, when the book opens, she has left Michael and her sunny college life and returned to her cold, windy hometown where she tries to come to terms with Bando’s death. To do this, she has to dig into their shared past in the turbulent, chaotic Sixties.

I worked on this story for literally decades, trying to get it right, and I could never let go of it because of everything I’ve ever written, it was closest to my heart—not just because I relate to Rachel, whose completely clueless approach to real life mirrors my own at her age, but because I think I’ve captured the feel of what it was like to live during those times—the wild, vibrant Sixties and the emotionally-sterile early-disco Seventies.

What I want you to know about Double Take is that while it’s not a true story, there is a lot of emotional truth in it. It’s not an autobiography—for one thing, if anyone actually murdered anyone back then, in real life I don’t know who did it. But it’s a record of a lot of small things that really happened to me and to people I knew. For example, I really was walking around downtown Chicago one day when I bumped into a demonstration where I saw someone throw a garbage can through a florist’s window and pull out flowers. And the police downstate really did pull over a long-haired guy I knew while he was driving and shave his head.

Or did I imagine it all? At this point, it’s hard to know.

Rachel’s story is set in the past, but I think it has a lot to say to people, especially young people, in our own interesting times.


About the Author:

Abby Bardi is the author of the novels The Book of Fred, The Secret Letters, and Double Take. Her short fiction has appeared in Quarterly West, Rosebud, Monkeybicycle, and in the anthologies High Infidelity, Grace and Gravity, and Reader, I Murdered Him, and her short story “Abu the Water Carrier” was the winner of The Bellingham Review’s 2016 Tobias Wolff award for fiction. She has an MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Maryland and teaches writing and literature in the Washington, DC, area. She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, the oldest railroad depot in America.

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About the Book:

Title: Double Take
Author: Abby Bardi
Publisher: Harper Collins Impulse
Pages: 186
Genre: Mystery/Women’s Fiction

Set in Chicago, 1975, Double Take is the story of artsy Rachel Cochrane, who returns from college with no job and confronts the recent death of Bando, one of her best friends. When she runs into Joey, a mutual friend, their conversations take them back into their shared past and to the revelation that Bando may have been murdered. To find out who murdered him, Rachel is forced to revisit her stormy 1960s adolescence, a journey that brings her into contact with her old friends, her old self, and danger.

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