Sunday, October 11, 2009

Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon

Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon is one of those books that is so abstruse that you feel like you are writing it as you are reading it. You know what I mean? OK, perhaps I should be a little less abstruse. Uhhhh. No I can't. So just stay with me here. Await Your Reply is about Hayden and Miles, who are twin brothers. I think. I was never really sure that they weren't one person. Anyway, just for the sake of getting somewhere with this review, let's just assume. So Hayden is the brilliant "schizoid" (apologies) brother, and Miles is the decidedly slow but morally superior doormat brother. Or they are the same person. One or the other. So, brilliant Hayden disappears, and leaves threads of clues as to his wereabouts, and Miles spends his life trying to find him. I think. Oh yes, and Hayden (or Hayden/Miles), hacks computers and steals money and kills people and seduces a high school girl. No wait a minute, that was the high school teacher that seduced the girl. No, I'm sure that was Hayden posing as a high school teacher. I think.

Oh yes, and Ryan, the college kid who drops out to go live with his loser-dad, who the pseudo-Russian-mafia guys think screwed them around, but he didn't, because it was Hayden (or Hayden/Miles) pretending to be Ryan's dad, but not with Ryan because Ryan's dad really was his dad, but Hayden wasn't his dad. I don't think.

OK, so let's just say that I spent the entire book writing and rewriting the story in my head as clues unfolded like reverse Origami, and although my book club discussion nearly came to blows as to the "facts" (ha ha) of the story, Chaon's writing was so seductive, that no one really cared who was who, or who really did what. That was part of the grand fun. It was a one heck of a ride, and I loved it!


  1. I was waiting for you to say the writing was great! Now, I'll read it, for this is my favorite fiction formula (gotta love alliteration!) If you liked this, you might also like Tim O'Brien's book, In the Lake of the Woods, about a politician whose wife disappears. No, wait, it's about a young kid who wants to become a magician so he can make things disappear...No wait...

    Oh well, try it. O'Brien's a master writer, critically acclaimed and a NY Times Bestselling author. Jane (your niece)

  2. Sounds juicy! I'll give Lake of the Woods a try! Thanks. Aunt Sue