Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon
A Novel

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Synopsis

BONUS: This edition contains an Await Your Reply discussion guide.

The lives of three strangers interconnect in unforeseen ways–and with unexpected consequences–in acclaimed author 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.
 

About Dan Chaon

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Dan Chaon is the acclaimed author of Among the Missing, which was a finalist for the National Book Award; You Remind Me of Me, which was named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and Entertainment Weekly, among other publications; and Await Your Reply, which was a New York Times Notable Book and appeared on more than a dozen "Best of the Year" lists. 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.
 
Published August 15, 2009 by Ballantine Books. 337 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Await Your Reply

Kirkus Reviews

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Though writers of short stories are almost invariably encouraged to become novelists—a contract for a debut story collection is typically a bet hedged against the longer work to come—some authors who master the former don’t seem as well suited to the latter.

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The New York Times

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“You trust me, don’t you?” Ryan asks Jay, setting up the kind of ambiguous exchange in which Mr. Chaon so evidently delights.

Aug 19 2009 | Read Full Review of Await Your Reply: A Novel

The New York Times

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As Chaon writes, “He had been traveling away from himself for a long time now, he thought — for years and years, maybe, he had been trying to imagine ways to escape — and now he was actually doing it.” In the second story line, Miles, a lonely man in his 30s working for a mail-order magic operati...

Aug 20 2009 | Read Full Review of Await Your Reply: A Novel

AV Club

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What could have easily devolved into contrivance, Chaon handles artfully, placing a nail-biter to appease the most discerning genre-fiction fan right alongside lofty ruminations on the nature of self that should please anyone who’s read Nabokov’s The Real Life Of Sebastian Knight, which Chaon quo...

Oct 01 2009 | Read Full Review of Await Your Reply: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

In Await Your Reply's successive chapters, Dan Chaon tells three parallel stories: Ryan learns that his shady uncle is actually his dad and joins him in identity-theft schemes;

Aug 28 2009 | Read Full Review of Await Your Reply: A Novel

USA Today

Dad runs a global credit-card scam from the backwoods of Michigan.Miles, a hapless thirtysomething from Cleveland, has spent the past decade searching for his twin brother, a paranoid schizophrenic with a talent for assuming new identities.Lucy, an orphaned high school senior, runs away from her ...

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Pajiba

Often times in books with multiple stories I find myself skimming one of the stories to get back to the one that compels me.

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Open Letters Monthly

It is the same for Miles, who goes searching after Hayden time after time, borne back ceaselessly into the past, not to save Hayden, but to save himself: Was it enough to say that they were brothers – that Hayden was the last person alive in the world who shared the same memories, the last pers...

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

Personal pronouns appear in many of the titles of National Book Award finalist Dan Chaon's work.

Sep 11 2009 | Read Full Review of Await Your Reply: A Novel

Chicago Tribune

Ryan, having been caught up in his putative father's identity theft industry, has his fun, the novelist writes, "driving, flying, riding the Amtrak train -- a different city every week, a new name, a new personality that he could try out, a new role, as if each new trip were a movie he was starri...

Sep 05 2009 | Read Full Review of Await Your Reply: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

Ron Charles NY Times Book Review 3.5 of 5 Stars "By Page 200, I was also 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.

Aug 23 2009 | Read Full Review of Await Your Reply: A Novel

Chamber Four

You Remind Me of Me, by Dan Chaon Similar Posts REVIEW: Drood REVIEW: The Gone-Away World REVIEW: Little Bee REVIEW: White Teeth REVIEW: Clash of Kings

Apr 21 2010 | Read Full Review of Await Your Reply: A Novel

Oprah.com

How hard could it be to lose yourself, to "let go of your future and let it rise up and up until finally you couldn't see it anymore, and you knew that you had to start over"?

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Book Forum

Chaon situates his characters in beautiful, desolate settings—an abandoned motel designed to look like a lighthouse and situated next to a desiccated reservoir, dilapidated mobile homes at the edge of the Canadian Arctic archipelago—and deftly navigates the paradoxes that shape the plot: technolo...

Sep 11 2009 | Read Full Review of Await Your Reply: A Novel

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