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Among the Missing

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  1,908 ratings  ·  189 reviews
In this haunting, bracing new collection, Chaon shares stories of down-and-out people who live outside the American Dream, while wondering which decision, path, or accident brought them to this place.
Hardcover, 258 pages
Published July 3rd 2001 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2001)
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Nandakishore Varma
In 2006, there was a film in Malayalam which became a cult film of sorts. It was called Thanmathra ("Molecule"), and depicted a man's frightening descent into Alzheimer's. But what gave the story its poignancy was the bond between the protagonist and his son: the single-minded effort on the part of the former to make the latter an officer of the Indian Administrative Service. Incidentally, the movie also focussed on the relationship between the protagonist and his father.

Speaking on the movie, t
Among the Missing is a collection that reminds me why I dislike short stories as a genre. Characters are introduced, developed, and then the story ends. I enjoyed the collection because it holds together thematically very well. The plot sequence of a disappeared body frames a discussion of how we lose track of ourselves over our lifetime, how we lose connections with those we purport to love.

The story “Here’s a Little Something to Remember Me By,” particularly interested me in the way it weaves
I feel so lucky to have stumbled upon this short story collection on the library shelves. I’ve always enjoyed reading Dan Chaon. My Book Club first introduced him to me through the disturbingly thrilling Await Your Reply. I then read the haunting Stay Awake.

This collection is less gruesome than either of those reads, but just as compelling. I love best Chaon’s ability to tap into our innermost insecurities for examination. From the insecure widow looking for comfort from an inflatable torso in “
Oh, boy. Can't believe I'm just getting to Chaon now. What a slick writer. His characters are comprehensively complete; his prose is tight and rife with humor and elevated diction without going over your head; his plots are compelling (and very well-plotted). Just a wonderful collection.

My favorite pieces were, "I Demand to Know Where You're Taking Me," "Big Me," "Among the Missing," "Passengers, Remain Calm," and "Safety Man," though I wouldn't say any of the pieces were weak.

If I had to make a
Scott Rhee
"Among the Missing" is Dan Chaon's second collection of short stories and the first book of his I have read. I once read a creepy little story of his called "The Bees" in a contemporary horror anthology. It stood out because of its incredibly disturbing subject matter (spousal abuse) and horrific imagery of a man who literally can't escape his past. The story haunted me for weeks, and thinking about it now, it still does. The stories in this collection are much less horrific, but they still mana ...more
داستانهای تلخ و واقعی و بسیار روان و خواندنی. دنیای نوجوانان خیالباف که اغلب در خانوادههایی پر از مشکل زندگی میکنند. از دن شان دیگه کتابی ترجمه نشده به فارسی؟ ...more
Christian Lincoln
Beautifully constructed and well-balanced stories that reach back into the awkward and very scary annals of childhood, from a carefully crafted set of narrators.
Dustin Crazy little brown owl
I love the writing of Dan Chaon. I wish he would write again. His writing style speaks to me with a mysterious connection. I think I enjoyed each of these 12 stories in one way or another. There is a magical quality about the mixture of humor & everyday drama with slight supernatural element - something like another of my favorite authors, Dean Koontz (but Dean has more religion in his writing).

My favorite parts are much too numerous to list or choose from. Looking forward to something new
This is my third (and last) Dan Chaon book. This is an NBA finalist, and I guess I am missing something - but Dan Chaon is a writer of almosts.

He almost nails it in these short stories. He crafts some characters who almost grab me. There are some lines I did like - and I'll add them below - but they're almost perfect. The concepts are there, but he just can't execute them.

I like my short story collections to be powerful. There should be one that pushes you to the edge - so that when someone as
Ann Douglas
A powerful collection of short stories that explores troubled relationships, unresolved grief, and other emotionally charged territory. The images in the story are often grisly and graphic: readers with tender sensibilities, be forewarned. In an author interview at the end of the book, Chaon explains his tendency to go for the image that sticks with you long after you wish it would fade away:

"To me, American life itself is often fairly haunted, uncanny, unsettling in both its large events and sm
This is the 39th book that I have read for the 100 Book Challenge this year, and also the best.

The blurbs on the back cover alluded to the stories being a bit dark, somewhat edgy, made mention of the way they dwell on the alienation of the current American experience. They sounded, in short, like kind of a downer. It is hard, then, to explain how much pleasure I felt in reading them.

I think that Chaon's real strength as a writer is that he connects with something deeply human in his work. Many
So many reviews to catch up on from my summer reading. I read this one a couple of months ago and just found it again today on a shelf. Dan Chaon writes about people who are lost and have disappeared in this one and gives us glimpses into what it's also like to have someone go missing. It's interesting how Chaon can take such a dark subject and make a sort of sense of it so that it has it's own language and texture. I never really felt as horrified by these stories as I thought I should and that ...more
Brenda Pike
A blurb on the front cover by Lorrie Moore says these stories are funny, but I don't find them so at all. They were too melancholy and disturbing for me. (And if you know my penchant for melancholy, disturbing stories, you know that's saying something.) In an author interview at the back of the book Dan Chaon uses as an example of humor a scene where a child doesn't understand what's going on at a wake and spends the entire time pretending that the yolk of a hard-boiled egg is his eye, while eve ...more
Jake Maguire
I don't usually give 5 stars here on Goodreads, especially for collections of short stories - unless of course it's O' Henry or Nabokov, but I'm throwing all respectability to the wind and I'm letting the sappy 5 star flag fly here. So why Dan Chaon?
I thought the stories opened some hidden recesses from my childhood. I felt like there were strange and ineffable powers at work on my subconscious mind - and I like that quality in a literary work. The existential ambiguity of dream versus
Vivienne Strauss
Another beautifully written book by Chaon. A strange coincidence that the blurb on the cover was written by Lorrie Moore who I had JUST finished before this one. Between Dan Chaon and Tom Drury I do believe I need a break from the futility and hopelessness of the human condition (especially the mid west condition). Going to take a break and read a few thrillers as escape.
My mom gave me Dan Chaon's first novel this year, and I loved it. So I decided to read some of his short stories as I felt that his novel was very influenced by the short story form.

I recommend this book for anyone who is a lover of short stories. Chaon creates brilliant characters and interesting scenarios with the kind of spare writing that I love. I'd add him to the list of people I consider masters of the short story. Looking forward to his second novel, which comes out this year.
These stories are amazing. I can't believe I haven't read anything from this writer until now. I feel like it just might be Christmas morning, since I have two others (another short story collection and a novel) lock and loaded on my e-reader.

Anybody who grooves on short stories should like this collection. It's darkly comic, at times heartbreaking and always, always haunting. Simply put, reading these stories made me want to write short fiction again.
I don't know how I stumbled upon this short story collection, but I am glad I did. For the first two thirds of the book or so, I felt like it was one of the best short story collections I had ever read. But the last few stories didn't resonate as much with me, which kind of stinks, because then that was the impression I was left with.

It is always challenging to review a bunch of short stories, because even though there are some unifying themes, they are all about different people and different
“She dreaded it, for it always brought her into a constant state of predepressive gloom, something Scandinavian and lugubrious…” (29).
“‘We’re lucky the bird didn’t testify’” (39).
“...and in the subsequent years we moved through a blur of ugly states--Wyoming, Montana, Panic, Despair--while my parents’ marriage dissolved” (65).
“Listening to such stuff, I feel like an anorexic in a country of starving people. Why was I so angry at my father? What’s the point of my complaint? I’ve suffered very lit
دن چاون با تلفظ گویا دقیقتر شاون داستان کوتاهی داره توی این کتاب به اسم پشیمان. یکی از بهترین داستان کوتاههایی که توی عمرم خوندم همینه. فکر کنم برای خیلی از مردهایی که از پدرشون خاطره دارن -حالا چه خوب و چه بد- میتونه پر از چیزهایی باشه که باز به یاد بیاره. باز به یاد بیاره همهی اون خاطرههایی که آدم گاهی دوست داره فراموششون کنه و اما میدونه که نمیتونه. ...more
One of the best short story collections I've come across. Chaon's style is different, but he reminds me of a weird and creepy Richard Yates, and I doubt the bar called "The Crossroads" in "Big Me" was coincidental. I can't recommend this book enough, but there's nothing humorous in it as some of the reviews I've read have suggested.
James Van
I've never been a big short story fan in general but I feel like this book changed that.
This collection of short stories is very well written and provides an insightful perspective into ordinary people. The stories themselves are, for the most part, pretty depressing.

The stories in the first half of the book seemed to be snapshots of peoples lives. Just a few days or weeks in the life of someone who had significant personal problems or issues to deal with. There was no conclusion to these stories. They just ended, with nothing resolved.

The stories in the second half were just as de
Alison Grubb
Chaon is a master of the short story. He is able to develop characters, emotions, and plot in a seemingly effortless manner. The depth that he is capable of portraying in these stories continues to amaze me and brings me back for more of his work.

This particular collection focuses on the realities of losing something or being lost ourselves. It is not a happy book in the sense that there is a thick melancholy to the stories that he shares however I find that the accessibility of the characters
So clearly the question is, if I don't like short stories why do I keep reading collections of short stories. Let me explain as quickly as I can. I heard of Dan Chaon's "great" book Among the Missing and so I reserved it from my library without realizing it was a book of short stories. At the same time, Await Your Reply (a novel) was available (furthering my expectation that Chaon was a novelist). I read Await Your Reply and it wasn't great, but it was okay (and it wasn't what had been recommend ...more
The first story or two told me that I would hate this book. They seemed silly, trivial, beneath me as a reader. Had it not been assigned reading, I would have thrown this book aside in disgust and forgotten it instantly. But I kept reading, and before long, I found myself being drawn in. The cumulative power of this collection is difficult to explain. While the characters and plots of the stories don't intersect, there's an overarching creepiness that ties the book together. People vanish and ar ...more
Paul Cockeram
Dan Chaon is a master of the Midwestern psyche, the buttoned-down and the balled-up characters, the souls who find limits to their behavior and happiness and possibilities at every turn. A punk rocker confronts the sad fact that he will abandon his own father just as the man's last two wives did. A transplanted wife finds herself at war with a bird who shows her exactly how far she has drifted from her husband, or how unlike they were all along. Roiling under the surfaces of these characters and ...more
Gabriel Boutros
Among the Missing is a collection of twelve simple tales about everyday people, most of whom are somehow broken on the inside. Their relations with their families and their friends don't really work like they should, and often, despite their best efforts, they don't succeed in getting through the day without causing pain to themselves or to those they love. In each one of these very different stories, we feel like we've just shown up in the middle of somebody's life; we watch them as they go abo ...more
If you like writing so crystal clear it disappears into the story, and plots executed with such precision that you can measure them with a compass or protractor or other instrument from high school geometry buried in a desk drawer at your parents' house, I think you'll like this book. This reader, though, is partial to a balance between Chaon's style here and writing that's writerly--like in the sense that Van Gogh's paintings are painterly, and shit.

And while I prefer to be grounded in the real
There's a heartbreaking moment in "Passengers, Remain Calm," my favorite story in Dan Chaon's Among the Missing, when the character Hollis is walking with his young nephew, F. D., whose father has left him and is likely not returning. They are at a carnival and pass a fortune-teller, who is trying to convince Hollis he should have his fortune read:
[The fortune teller] smiles broadly. "Your son thinks you should," she says, and addresses F. D. "Don't you think your father should know his fortune
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Dan Chaon is the author of Among the Missing, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and You Remind Me of Me, which was named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, The Christian Science Monitor, and Entertainment Weekly, among other publications. Chaon’s fiction has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Best Ame ...more
More about Dan Chaon...
Await Your Reply You Remind Me of Me Stay Awake Fitting Ends Big Me

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“You can go on like this for a very long time, and no one will notice. You keep thinking you're going to hit some sort of bottom, but I'm here to tell you: There is no bottom. ” 24 likes
“It doesn't matter what you do. In the end, you are going to be judged, and all the times that you're not at your most dignified are the ones that will be recalled in all their vivid, heartbreaking detail. And then of course these things will be distorted and exaggerated and replayed over and over, until eventually they turn into the essence of you: your cartoon. ” 24 likes
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