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Among the Missing (Ballantine Reader's Circle) Paperback – January 29, 2002
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That's about as much as you'll ever get out of one of Chaon's mothers: soup. When not fielding their aging parents' passivity, these characters seem to spend a lot of time grappling with ghosts. The "missing" of the title story are, literally, gone. In "Safety Man," a widow comes to rely on one of those inflatable dolls meant to intimidate intruders. In "Prosthesis," a young wife and mother falls for a stranger with a missing arm; meanwhile, she watches her son grow up and away from her, "disappearing into his own thoughts and feelings." In the end, Chaon is the rare writer who deserves comparison to Carver: both write an affectless prose that takes on a surprisingly emotional life of its own. --Claire Dederer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
There is something or someone "missing" from each of the stories in this perfectly-titled collection. Although not ghost stories, the characters here are plenty haunted - most by a deep sense of absence. "Safety Man" touchingly paints a young widow's dependency on an inflatable version of a man to protect her family and herself, now that her husband is gone. In "Passengers, Remain Calm," another man has abandoned his family, leaving his eight-year-old son fatherless until his conflicted younger brother steps into that role. In the wonderful, "I Demand to Know Where You're Taking Me," a woman is haunted by her imprisoned brother-in-law and the knowledge of his guilt, and takes-out her lonely rage on a nasty-mouthed parrot.Read more ›
Chaon uses uncomplicated language that disarms the reader with its simplicity. His prose is so undemanding on the surface that the emotion undercurrents can sneak up on you, such as in "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Animal Kingdom" when the final line of the story gives us a glimpse of the desperation, loneliness, and incomprehension of the protagonist: "He could have sworn in his heart that something terrible had happened to the world, and that everyone knew it but him."
If you are a reader of short fiction, you won't be disappointed with AMONG THE MISSING.
The stories are not narrow variations on a theme, some center on an event, others on a group, and still others on individuals. The opening story, "Safety Man", would seem to belong in the category of the surreal from the comments on the book jacket. It is an altogether serious look at how loss is mitigated, and how solutions/substitutions that are not readily apparent can be legitimate. "Among The Missing", that also titles the book will bring memories from the real world to mind at once. A family outing in their car could not be a more normal event. The final locale continues to include the entire family much as they started out, however with a great mystery and tragedy as the destination.
One of the stories that stood out in my reading was, "Passengers, Remain Calm". This story veers away from its title immediately and barely makes it back, or not, depending on your interpretation. A carnival again is an event that is familiar to the majority of readers, however Mr. Chaon sees this event through a relationship, and does so through his unique view. In this and others stories that struggle to rise above melancholy, or worse, even here the spin leaves the reader feeling ambivalent.
This is the first time I have read this man's work, and I will certainly pursue more. This is not a book that will lift your spirits, but I don't believe that was his goal. He offers a grim view that is all too familiar.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Dan Chaon’s stories elicit all the usual adulatory adjectives—plus “creepy,” “invasive,” “disorienting,” not to mention “funny. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Bart Mills
Some short stories of various lengths and some simple vignettes. I enjoyed them all.Published 13 months ago by Sterling Allen
Anyone who loves short stories that reveal a truth about a piece of themselves will love this collection - achingly poignant, clear, honest craftsmanship, here.Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
Dan Chaon is a little on the dark side but he writes with touching honesty and his characters are familiar. I want to read all of the stories he has written.Published 20 months ago by lisa buffalo
I had written a review about the book, "A girl Named Zippy" but for some reason it posted here. Anyway, "Among the Missing" is a set of stories that can captivate and entertain... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Skimouu
I really enjoyed all of the stories. They are all tense and interesting in different ways, and they mix a psychological aspect with an uncomplicated, easily accessible style. Read morePublished on March 30, 2014 by Nikolai Estrella
Among the Missing is a collection of twelve simple tales about everyday people, most of whom are somehow broken on the inside. Read morePublished on October 22, 2013 by Gabriel Boutros
Each story hits on a different emotion. There were moments I had to stop and wait to finish the story. Read morePublished on October 11, 2013 by Amazon Customer
Very good condition, no writing in book, good read front cover worn very little, great author and stories are goodPublished on August 26, 2013 by Pen Name