Await Your Reply

7 Jan

Await Your ReplyRemember that post a few weeks ago where I said that I cannot put together a “Best of 2009” list? If I had written a Best of list, Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon would be on it, very nearly close to the top. If not on the top.

From Goodreads:

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.

Each chapter shifts among these three characters’ stories and each one adds a piece to the puzzle. We start the novel not knowing how or even if their stories will weave together. Even when I started to get a sense of the larger whole, Chaon’s prose and easy method of maintaining suspense kept me turning pages. I was engrossed, fully and completely with these characters. I was rooting for them and hating them and yelling at them and crying for them all at the same time. They’re very different but oh so similar in a lot of ways. I could relate to each of them, in that way where you can recognize a point in your own life when you could have picked another path, let yourself get off track just slightly, and ended up where they are or a situation like it.

I haven’t read anything else by Chaon, which I plan to rectify very shortly.

Go to the bookstore now and buy this book. It’s one you’ll want to keep in your library and read over and over again.

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2 Responses to “Await Your Reply”

  1. Greg Zimmerman January 8, 2010 at 2:21 am #

    Wow – that good, eh? It was another that kept showing up on random “Best of 2009” lists, but I was skeptical. Just didn’t sound that interesting…

    I haven’t read (or heard of) Chaon, either, but will also rectify that very shortly.

  2. Kathy May 19, 2010 at 9:52 am #

    Wow, if you keep doing this to me I’m going to end up doubling the rate at which I’m adding new books to my TBR list (which is overwhelmingly long already). Sounds like a great book!

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