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Zendralee (Fremont, OH)
The identities and relationships of the 3 main characters intertwine in a maze of alternating chapters. The reader is engaged and rides along with the story like a spam email spreads insidiously on the internet. Despite the unsympathetic nature of many of the characters, you are drawn along by the author's prose to care about them and wonder at their ultimate journey's end.
Samantha H. (Golden, CO)
Await Your Reply
"Await Your Reply" takes three seemingly disparate characters whose stories become increasing intertwined as the book develops. The author uses alternating chapters to narrate each character's story. The transitions between chapters were often abrupt, especially as one "story" jumps back and forth in time, while the others do not. That said, as I got more involved in the book, the transitions didn't bother me as much.
Stanley W. (Columbus, OH)
Await Your Reply
I enjoyed this book -- the characters have good depth, and their stories were interesting enough to keep me reading to the end -- but it isn't the best thing I've picked up this year.
I was instantly drawn into this trio of stories that deals with connections and questions. Although I did find some of the characters more compelling than others, the brilliant weaving of the three separate tales add up to one good read. The book is mysterious, melancholy, and the conclusion is both surprising and satisfying. I highly recommend this book.
Barbara C. (Riverside, CA)
I would love to give this book to a psychiatrist and see what she could make of these sad characters. I love pathetic people as much as the next person, but this book seemed to contain devices designed to shock or confuse. Yes, I had to read it all just to find out what happened to the characters, but I cared most about the almost normal ones. Is that a character flaw in me?
Elinor M. (Roswell, NM)
A Man In Search for?
This is the first work of Chaon's I've read and as I sit with the last page now turned, I am stunned. It is interesting how his introduction of the characters, each with their own circumstance in life, was accomplished - in short provocative "pull-you-in" chapters. On the other hand, as each story progressed throughout the book, I found the traveling back and forth between these stories somewhat disconcerting for, quite naturally, I favored one set of characters over another.
Juli S. (Portland, OR)
Can you be certain of someone's identity?
However, I did find myself drawn into the detective mode of my spirit, contemplating just how it would all connect, for I felt it must. In the end, I found our protagonist to be so very sad, and while ingenious and perhaps brilliant, he seemed quite evil and certainly lost and lonely, ever searching for what? Peace in his life perhaps? Who would ever know?
I say again, I am stunned at how it all came together. It would be intriguing (and maybe just a little scary) to crawl into the mind of this author. I must look into his other writings. In closing, there is no doubt in my mind that this book will definitely spark many a discussion.
The book is a mix of three stories that at the beginning seem totally unconnected, but as you read, the connections start clicking and pretty soon you cant put it down because you just have to find out how this all ends. The question of identity is at the heart of this book. False identities and hidden truths abound. Pretty soon the characters and the reader are both questioning the true identity of everyone.
Susan P. (Rehoboth, MA)
Await Your Reply
I liked this book a lot. I kept making guesses as to how it would all resolve and changing my mind. If you need a book with clear linear timelines or all the ends tightly wrapped up in a bow, stay away from this one. If you like a story of intrigue, deception and a bit of mystery and suspense, I recommend it highly. Although I felt like I didnt truly like the main characters, the ever more involved web of story and timelines kept me turning the pages as fast as I could.
There are many things about this book to like, and I found it to be a fast read. The characters and their individual stories are intriguing, and the author's manner of linking their stories via the mysterious Hayden, holds the narrative together quite well. It would be a good pick for book clubs that are interested in discussing themes such as family, loss, and the possibility of re-inventing oneself.
Anita S. (West Bloomfield, MI)
Do We Really Know Our Family and Friends
This is an astonishing book. From the very beginning, I could not put it down. I found myself holding my breath as I read it. The characters are so startlingly real, that at times I felt as though I were one of them. As I was caught up in the wonderful, mysterious story, this book made me think about life and existence as it asks the question 'Do we really know those around us?' I recommend this book to all who want to read a great book.