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Await Your Reply: A Novel (Random House Reader's Circle) Paperback – June 1, 2010
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“The brilliant Dan Chaon has done it again. Both a genre-bending whodunit and a profound meditation on identity, Await Your Reply left me breathless with admiration. The pages turn themselves.”—Justin Cronin, author of The Summer Guest
“I’ve been waiting for somebody to write the essential identity-theft novel, and I’m very glad Dan Chaon’s the one to have done it, because he believes in real story and is faithful to the reader.”—Jonathan Franzen, author of The Corrections
“This is a stunning and beautiful book. I must have read its final pages half a dozen times, just letting what lay packed and coiled within them settle into me. Out of pure loss, Chaon has created real magnificence. Await Your Reply attains a kind of blurry, bloodstained perfection.”—Peter Straub, author of A Dark Matter
“I haven’t had as much sheer fun reading a novel in years. Chaon’s characters are always so beautifully drawn that they hold your attention even when they’re just sitting and thinking. In this breathtaking book, they do that and a whole lot more.”—Ann Packer, author of The Dive from Clausen's Pier
“Stunning…. Mr. Chaon succeeds in both creating suspense and making it pay off, but ‘Await Your Reply’ also does something even better. Like the finest of his storytelling heroes, Mr. Chaon manages to bridge the gap between literary and pulp fiction with a clever, insinuating book equally satisfying to fans of either genre. He does travel two roads, even though that guy David Frost said it wasn’t possible."—New York Times
“I was completely hooked—a credit both to Chaon's intricate and suspenseful plotting and to some of the most paranoid material to hit American literature since Don Delillo's White Noise...Await Your Reply is a dark, provocative book; in bringing its three strands together, Chaon has fashioned a braid out of barbed wire.”—New York Times Book Review
“(4 stars) A deliciously disturbing literary thriller. In the end, Await Your Reply is a story that unfolds with chilling precision. You'll be spellbound from start to finish.”—People
“A tender, melancholy meditation on attachment and loss.”— O, The Oprah Magazine
“Far more than an absorbing mystery, in this complex and psychologically astute story Dan Chaon put on a virtuosic display of his literary talent. It's a thrilling example of the best of contemporary literary fiction.” —Bookpage
“Chaon deftly intertwines a trio of story lines, showcasing his characters' individuality by threading subtle connections between and among them with effortless finesse, all the while invoking the complexities of what's real and what's fake with mesmerizing brilliance. This novel’s structure echoes that of his well-received debut–also a book of threes–even as it bests that book’s elegant prose, haunting plot and knockout literary excellence.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“So breathtaking… that the reader practically feels compelled to start the novel anew, just to discover the cues that he’s missed along the way.”—Kirkus Reviews
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Dan Chaon is the acclaimed author of Among the Missing, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and You Remind Me of Me, which was named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, The Christian Science Monitor, and Entertainment Weekly, among other publications. Chaon’s fiction has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize, and The O. Henry Prize Stories. He has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award in Fiction, and he was the recipient of the 2006 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Chaon lives in Cleveland, Ohio, and teaches at Oberlin College, where he is the Pauline M. Delaney Professor of Creative Writing.
From the Hardcover edition.
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A man searches fruitlessly for his twin brother, whose been missing for 10 years. A new high school graduate embarks on an adventure with her former history teacher and ends up in an abandoned motel in the middle of Nebraska. A young college student receives shocking news and ends up being mistakenly pronounced dead ... so he decides to just go with it. The fates of these three people run parallel throughout the book before crashing together in unexpected ways.
Reading this book is akin to throwing the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle in the air and having it assemble itself before landing, with all the pieces fitting neatly together. It was a nifty little trick that Chaon pulled off in this book, and I was impressed. I will admit that I struggled while reading to figure out what the heck was going on ... how exactly did these three seemingly unrelated stories fit together? Chaon keeps the puzzle pieces up in the air for most of the book, but when it all starts fitting together, there is an "aaaah" moment that made it a fun and satisfying reading experience. If you enjoy intricately plotted stories that have sinister and dark undertones, this is the book for you!
Each story must be read for its own merits for true enjoyment. I did figure out some things a little over halfway through, but the author still managed to surprise me in the end.
The storyline got a bit convoluted at times with all of the long flashbacks. Some of these flashbacks were a bit awkward, happening in the middle of a conversation. However, by the end, the reader does have a clear picture of events.
I do think the book would have benefitted from a more clear timeline.
Character Development: 5 Stars
The character development truly carries this novel. The reader is introduced to each of the three main characters in dramatic ways. Then, the reader is pulled in with more and more details that bring these characters to life.
Writing Style: 5 Stars
I enjoyed the writing style of this author immensely. His prose flowed in an almost stream of conscious manner. It carries the reader gently, almost surreptitiously, through the story.
The descriptions were succinct, to the point. The dialogue was especially good, bringing forth conceptual realism.
Editing/Formatting: 5 Stars
The editing was great. The Kindle formatting was also very well done.
Rating: PG-13 for Adult Situations, Language