Chaon, Dan. Await Your Reply. NY: Ballantine Books, 2009.
Submitted by R. Stuhr
If you read the blog entry for Cloud Atlas, then you already have read my comments on novels made up of separate stories that slowly become connected, so I won't repeat them here. Oberlin College professor Chaon uses this method with Await Your Reply. This novel starts out with stories about young or youngish people who have left or are preparing to leave friends and family behind: a young man who repeatedly disrupts his life to search for his twin brother; a young girl whose parents have died gives up her plans for college to leave town with her high school teacher; a young man leaves college after receiving a phone call from his biological father who is calling to tell him that he has been living with adoptive parents. In some respects, this novel is a mystery. The reader collects clues and slowly puts together the disparate pieces into a meaningful whole. Chaon's novel depicts everyday people making good and bad decisions, driven from forces from within themselves and from without. Some are motivated by love, others by greed, and all from loneliness.
Dan Chaon's novels and short stories (all highly recommended!):
Await Your Reply
Burling 3rd Floor PS 3553 .H277 A95 2009
You Remind Me of Me
Burling 3rd Floor PS 3553. H277 Y68 2004
Among the Missing (short stories)
Burling 3rd Floor PS 3553 .H277 A8 2001