Before the critically acclaimed novels Await Your Reply and You Remind Me of Me, Dan Chaon made a name for himself as a renowned writer of dazzling short stories. Now, in Stay Awake, Chaon returns to that form for the first time since his masterly Among the Missing, a finalist for the National Book Award.
In these haunting, suspenseful stories, lost, fragile, searching characters wander between ordinary life and a psychological shadowland. They have experienced intense love or loss, grief or loneliness, displacement or disconnection - and find themselves in unexpected, dire, and sometimes unfathomable situations.
A father's life is upended by his son's night terrors - and disturbing memories of the first wife and child he abandoned; a foster child receives a call from the past and begins to remember his birth mother, whose actions were unthinkable; a divorced woman experiences her own dark version of "empty-nest syndrome"; a young widower is unnerved by the sudden, inexplicable appearances of messages and notes - on dollar bills, inside a magazine, stapled to the side of a tree; and a college dropout begins to suspect that there's something off, something sinister, in his late parents' house.
Dan Chaon's stories feature scattered families, unfulfilled dreamers, anxious souls. They exist in a twilight realm - in a place by the window late at night when the streets are empty and the world appears to be quiet. But you are up, unable to sleep. So you stay awake.
"Starred Review. With this arresting collection, Chaon again demonstrates his mastery of the short story... Chaon brings readers fantastically close, slowly drawing them into the anxiety or loneliness or remorse of his characters, and building great anticipation for the twists to come." - Publishers Weekly
"Distinctive, hurting, and brave, Chaon's characters suffer life's little jolts but scramble to get back on the path, their journey to self escalating to the tenth power as the prose flows and the pages turn faster." - Library Journal
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Dan Chaon is the acclaimed author of Fitting Ends and Among the Missing, a finalist for the National Book Award, which was also listed as one of the ten best books of the year by the American Library Association, Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, and Entertainment Weekly, as well as being cited as a New York Times Notable Book. Chaon's fiction has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, and won both Pushcart and O. Henry awards. Chaon teaches at Oberlin College and lives in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, with his wife and two sons.
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