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Among the Missing

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4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  2,135 Ratings  ·  210 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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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
...more
Erin
Nov 04, 2012 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Amir
Nov 15, 2013 Amir rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-story
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
Scott Rhee
May 30, 2012 Scott Rhee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
"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
Alena
Jun 19, 2014 Alena rated it really liked it
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 “
...more
Matt
Mar 10, 2012 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Christian Lincoln
Jul 18, 2015 Christian Lincoln rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Parastoo
Jun 07, 2015 Parastoo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Joanna
May 14, 2010 Joanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Al!
Sep 07, 2016 Al! rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
این کتاب داستانی تلخ و غم انگیز با محوریت خانواده و ارتباط سرد افراد با یکدیگر است و راوی انسانهایی میباشد که سالهای سال با هم زندگی کرده اند و فقط به شناختی سطحی از یکدیگر رسیده اند گویی که افراد با یکدیگر بیگانه هستند و هویت خود را از دست داده اند :
"اگر کسی تو را نشناسد تو دیگر کسی نیستی!"
در این غمنامه تصویری تراژیک از پدر و مادر به عنوان شخصیت های اصلی ترسیم شده است.والدینی که هویت خود را باخته اند و در قالب "پدر بودن" یا "مادر بودن" فرو رفته اند , پدر و مادرهای تک بعدی , انسان های بی هویت .
...more
Kirstie
Aug 13, 2012 Kirstie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Tamsen
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
...more
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
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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
...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?
~Because~
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
...more
Lisa
Nov 18, 2013 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Alexis
Jul 10, 2009 Alexis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
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.
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.
Neil
Nov 05, 2009 Neil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Anna
Oct 24, 2015 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't have many coherent thoughts to say, but hugely adored this collection, especially "Big Me." It's creepy and unsettling and odd in a way I admire and can never hope to emulate.
James Van
Jan 20, 2015 James Van rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've never been a big short story fan in general but I feel like this book changed that.
Marc Gerstein
Nov 26, 2016 Marc Gerstein rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
I’m really perplexed about the many four- and five-star ratings for this collection. Death, abandonment, protagonists with lingering parent issues . . . z-z-z-z. Been there, done that. If Choan had something original to say about such matters, maybe it would have been worthwhile to plow all the way through this whine-fest, but other than some plotting flourishes that look like they came straight from creative writing 101, these stories were boring and predictable and amounted to little more than ...more
Alana Benjamin
This collection of short stories is morbid with weird humor but the writing is impeccable and the character development is rich. I am quite intrigued by how he was able to infuse details of the character, including their emotions and thought-process, as he told the stories. He is also really skilled in conveying emotional depth and complexity in a concise and stunning way.

I wasn't a fan of the lack of closure of the stories. The author left too many gaping holes in several storylines. My favour
...more
Paul Thomas
Oct 26, 2016 Paul Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Great book of short stories describing accidental relationships and the holes that life leaves in us. One might fill a vacant parent's role simply due to proximity, or suffer undeserved life long guilt from an adolescent mistake.

A couple of the stories especially resonated with me: one as a father begins to "become HIS father" and consequently changes his view of his Dad, and another where an adult son moves home with his parents and gets to know them differently. Both have happened to me.
Caren
Jan 04, 2017 Caren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! Each story was compelling and interesting. The characters are all relatable - Chaon has a way of highlighting the oddities in ordinary lives. Many of the stories have kind of a 'creepy' factor, for lack of a better word. But I think that's because life can be kind of creepy. Creepy not in a scary or frightening way, but in a chilling kind of way. Overall, I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read about life and family relationships. Highly recommended! (Man, this has b ...more
Željko Obrenović
Jako je retko naići na zbirku priča gde je svaka priča dobra, a kod Chaona (već po drugi put) ne samo što nema loše priče već su mi sad obe zbirke među najboljim ikad.
Clark Gudas
Oct 20, 2016 Clark Gudas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I want to write stories like this man
Derek
Jun 17, 2012 Derek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Sheri
Aug 06, 2012 Sheri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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...

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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. ” 30 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. ” 30 likes
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