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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. And, in my favorite of these great stories - "Here's a Little Something to Remember Me By" - an adult man recalls and relives the disappearance of a teenage friend, and the secrets about the missing boy that he's never told, and never will tell.
It's a great treat to find a short story that dazzles you, shocks you, touches you, makes you laugh and is written with elegance, power and beauty. Finding a dozen of them - as you do in Dan Chaon's "Among the Missing" - is amazing. This collection is an amazing literary accomplishment.
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.