Thursday, August 13, 2009

Await Your Reply


Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon … what can I say? It is an unusual novel. It is both a mystery and a psychological study of identity. The novel is divided into three stories with the chapters cycling between them. A common thread – identity and who you are – binds the stories together and is clearly evident. In one story, Miles Chesire, wanting to get on with his life, has received a letter from his twin brother, Hayden, pulling him back into a global game of hide and seek. Another story centers around, Ryan, a college drop out, whose hand has been severed under mysterious circumstances. And in the final story, we have Lucy, a recent high school graduate who leaves town with her high school teacher. Each of these individual is searching for something but what is that something. Is it love, a sense of belonging, closure, etc...? In their search, these individuals will need to come to terms with who and what they are.

While reading, I had a gnawing sense of familiarity and definitely saw strong parallels between two of the stories. Is there a connection between all the stories? This question will keep you reading (and thinking). I found Mr. Chaon to be quite adept at describing the little details – from a neglected motel in an abandoned US town to a hotel in Africa and a quaint little town in Ecuador – you feel as though you are there and witnessing everything. The stories were well paced and the characters well developed. Some may find the interweaving of chapters a bit disconcerting; however, the book is a page turner (I read it in one sitting). Some may not even like the characters as they are dark and strange – I only found one to be likable. Mr. Chaon's characters could be someone you know – they are ordinary people just trying to find themselves; however, some of the means taken to do so are questionable and may leave you wondering how well/if you know someone. I have always felt that you can never really know someone – you can only know what they allow you to see – truth or not.

I highly recommend.

Thank you to Random House for this ARE.



6 comments:

  1. This sounds like a really interesting book and I am going to keep an eye out for it. Thanks for the review.

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  2. Cathy, I hadn't heard of these stories until I read your interesting post. Thanks for your review. I will keep an eye out for this book.

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  3. This book seems like quite the mystery, not necessarily a murder mystery. It sounds like an interesting way to tell a story. Sometimes I find myself telling my husband about something and I go around in circles to get there. Maybe that's how this author developed his skill.

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  4. Thanks for the review! I'm going to pick it up soon!

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  5. I'm going to get this book - it sounds interesting, compelling....esp since those "themes" interest me so much! thankyou!

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  6. This is the kind of book that, now that you've brought it to my attention, if I see it while walking through my library I would take it with me.

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