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Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon

Await Your Reply

by Dan Chaon

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,2321286,454 (3.84)118
  1. 10
    You Remind Me of Me by Dan Chaon (LynnB)
  2. 10
    American Gods by Neil Gaiman (infiniteletters)
  3. 00
    The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel (baystateRA)
    baystateRA: Similar tone of underlying tension in tangentially connected stories. Both excellent!
  4. 00
    Travel Writing by Peter Ferry (jilld17)
  5. 00
    The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier (meganharris)
    meganharris: Shares similarities in alternating story line with Await Your Reply.

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» See also 118 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 130 (next | show all)
Some books are based on a particular idea, concepts, or questions. "Await your reply" is such a book, it is about identity theft and the question how much a person is able to design and shape their own identity. With this idea, Chaon has fashioned a relatively short and engaging novel. There are three main characters: Miles, searching for his twin brother, who changes identities as other people change their telephones; Ryan, who steels identities from others to make a living; and Lucy, who ran away from home in search of a new life. They are all orphans (in one way or another), and over the course of ~300 pages their at first seemingly disconnected stories intertwine.

As with other such books that are conceived from a single starting point I did not really like the book. Sure, it is deftly constructed; take for example the way hints about the interconnection of the three main characters are scattered throughout the book, or how tension is generated toward the end. But here's the big But: There is too much technique and way too little feeling. I found two of the main characters (Miles and Lucy) particularly unlikely and unconvincing. Character development: there is (almost) none.

Taken together: This would have been a really good book about identity if the author had put some work into the, well, identities of his characters. ( )
  flint_riemen | Dec 8, 2014 |
This was an interesting book with a really surprising ending, but I just couldn't connect with the characters like I have in other works by Chaon. Clever concepts, good writing, just not enough heart to it. ( )
  viviennestrauss | Sep 28, 2014 |
A fast. somewhat dark mystery. Enjoyed the writing, and kept me wondering right to the end. Still wondering about a couple of things. ( )
  EllenH | Aug 3, 2014 |
It might be a little unfair of me to only give this book 2 stars. It's always hard to tell whether to give stars based on how good a book is or how much I enjoyed it.... I didn't particularly enjoy this book, so it only gets 2 stars, but if I were rating its quality, it would probably get 3 or 4 stars.

The book follows several characters who all seem to have absolutely nothing to do with each other, until about halfway through the book when you start to realize that each storyline has something to do with false identities, and eventually it is clear that identity theft ties all of the various storylines together.

The gradual understanding of how the stories were tied together is pretty nifty... but the stories themselves are pretty awful. Not "awful" as in poorly conceived or poorly written, but "awful" as in none of the characters are even remotely likable and they're all pretty messed up and I really had trouble caring what happened to any of them.

Mostly, the book felt like a 325-page setup for a 25-page joke, and by the time the punchline was revealed, I really didn't care and it felt trite.

I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator was good. ( )
  Gwendydd | Jul 13, 2014 |
Extremely enjoyable, an impressive feat, at times it felt like a well written novel by Harlen Coben with slightly more emphasis on characters and less on plot. It begins with three apparently unrelated stories of people leaving their previous lives behind to set out to start a new one. And then the stories become increasingly intertwined as identity theft places an increasingly important role in all three stories. The story has an arc that grows increasingly suspenseful but then the point of the novel goes well beyond "figuring it out" -- which is all made nearly completely clear by about halfway through -- but instead the trajectory of the development of the characters, their back stories, and the exploration of the "ruin lifestyle" take over as the central source of interest. And even when it ends there is still a large web of improvisation just beyond the periphery of the novel that is left to the imagination. ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 130 (next | show all)
It’s hard to talk about Await Your Reply at length without giving too much away. In fact, the less you know about the novel going in, the better. Chaon does a great job of shifting the novel’s chronology around to trickle the plotlines out as he sees fit. It’s a gimmick that could have been hackneyed, but Chaon makes it work here. He seems more interested in filling in the lives of his characters than constructing some complex whodunit — and the result is a more nuanced, creepy affair than sensory jarring thriller.
[A] dark, deliciously disturbing literary thriller... Await Your Reply is a story that unfolds with chilling precision. You'll be spellbound from start to finish.
added by Shortride | editPeople, Michelle Green (Aug 31, 2009)
You need to step into this work of psychological suspense completely unprepared for what lurks in here. If somebody starts telling you what they liked best, put your fingers in your ears and sing: "La, la, la, la!" But you can trust me -- which is just what all the manipulative creeps in this novel say.
added by SqueakyChu | editThe Washington Post, Ron Charles (Aug 26, 2009)
Chaon is a dark, provocative writer, and “Await Your Reply” is a dark, provocative book; in bringing its three strands together, Chaon has fashioned a braid out of barbed wire.
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I myself, from the very beginning, Seemed to myself like someone's dream or delirium or a reflection in someone else's mirror, without flesh, without meaning, without a name. Already a list of crimes that I was destined to commit. Anna Akhmatova "Northern Eagles"
For Sheila
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We are on our way to the hospital, Ryan's father says.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
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.
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While Miles pursues elusive letters and clues in a perpetual search for his missing twin, Ryan struggles with the discovery that he is adopted, and Lucy finds her daring escape from her hometown posing unexpectedly dangerous consequences.

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