Wednesday, November 20

bibliophile [await your reply]

Ooh a good one. Put it on your list for sure.

Await Your Reply, Dan Chaon

Straight to the blurby blurb:

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.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. 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.

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.
I'll admit that my favorite reads involve characters I truly care about. This is not that. This is plot driven, with lots of tension and truly thriller-like pacing...almost like a Gone Girl (I hate that GG has become the litmus test for every novel/thriller I read, but there we are). You can just tell how intelligent the author must be to have woven such a complex story, and how imaginative (code for f'ed up). The Times gave a review, with which I largely agree, especially their categorization of Await as "unrelentingly bleak"; when I was 1/3 of the way through, I told a friend in my book club that I was pretty sure the main theme was a wasted life and unmet potential. I like The Times' use of the words "domestic novel" to describe the exact opposite of what Chaon writes- this is far more like a feral cat than a cuddly kitten, that's for sure. But then they liken Await to White Noise, a self-indulgent novel I hated, so it's agree and disagree over there. 

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