Await Your Reply: Book summary and reviews of Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon

Await Your Reply

by Dan Chaon

Await Your Reply
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2009
    336 pages
    Genre: Novels

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About this book

Book Summary

The varied lives of three strangers interconnect in unforeseen ways – and with unexpected consequences – in Dan Chaon's gripping, brilliantly written new novel.

Longing to get on with his life, Miles Cheshire nevertheless can't stop searching for his troubled twin brother, Hayden, who has been missing for ten years. Hayden has covered his tracks skillfully, moving stealthily from place to place, managing along the way to hold down various jobs and seem, to the people he meets, entirely normal. But some version of the truth is always concealed.

A few days after graduating from high school, Lucy Lattimore sneaks away from the small town of Pompey, Ohio, with her charismatic former history teacher. They arrive in Nebraska, in the middle of nowhere, at a long-deserted motel next to a dried-up reservoir, to figure out the next move on their path to a new life. But soon Lucy begins to feel quietly uneasy.

My whole life is a lie, thinks Ryan Schuyler, who has recently learned some shocking news. In response, he walks off the Northwestern University campus, hops on a bus, and breaks loose from his existence, which suddenly seems abstract and tenuous. Presumed dead, Ryan decides to remake himself – through unconventional and precarious means.

Await Your Reply is a literary masterwork with the momentum of a thriller, an unforgettable novel in which pasts are invented and reinvented and the future is both seductively uncharted and perilously unmoored.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. 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 Pick of the Week

"For fans of pulse-pounding drama, Chaon never fails to impress." - Library Journal

"[I]n some ways, Chaon is to the Midwest what Richard Russo is to the Northeast—but the structure has an innovative audacity missing from his earlier, more straightforward work." - Kirkus Reviews

"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

The information about Await Your Reply shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

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Zendralee (Fremont, OH)

My Reply
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.

Stanley W. (Columbus, OH)

Await Your Reply
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.

Susan P. (Rehoboth, MA)

Await Your Reply
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.

Maureen S. (Rainier, WA)

Who Are We if not our Data
In this chilling page-turner, Dan Chaon let's us follow three strangers Ryan, Lucy, and Miles on three adventures to identity. The first page of the book is a masterpiece, it grabs you by the throat and won't let you go until you've read the whole book.

This is a must read for mystery and suspense readers. Book clubs will find a wealth of discussion in the issues that Chaon's raises. For instance, who has the better life, the searcher or the searched for? Or, what exactly is the meaning of identity? Have you every wished you could wipe the slate clean, and take a mulligan?

Whether you're just reading for the thrill and the mystery or delving into the deeper questions, Await Your Reply, should be on the top of this year's reading list.

Linda W. (Lincoln, IL)

Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon
The introduction of three separate groups of characters throughout the book made me keep reading. I just knew there HAD to be some connection. Each character was unhappy being who they were and wanted to be someone else or have a different life. Each had his/her own idea of how to accomplish this. One searched endlessly for his twin brother, another sought wealth by attaching to a school teacher and running away and one sought to spend time with his biological father. The book gives a good story for each group. However, I still believe there was a definite connection that I missed. I know each was not who they seemed to be and all wanted to be something else. Did they succeed? You'll have to read to know. Generally, I really liked this book and recommend it to anyone!

...9 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Dan Chaon Author Biography

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.

Full Biography
Link to Dan Chaon's Website

Name Pronunciation
Dan Chaon: Dan 'Shawn'

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