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Await Your Reply

3.54  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,619 Ratings  ·  1,993 Reviews
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. Hayden has covered his tracks skillfully, moving ste
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 25th 2009 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jun 07, 2012 Steve rated it really liked it
Are writers as a breed more inclined than most to think about identity? It seems like they would be. They’re always trying to get inside characters’ heads. In the case of this particular author add the fact that he grew up as an orphan and maybe it makes sense he’s so good at depicting the mutability of self. In the three different storylines the key figures show both the ability and proclivity to change. It quickly becomes apparent (and thus does not qualify as a spoiler to mention) that identi ...more
Jonathan Ashleigh
Sep 24, 2015 Jonathan Ashleigh rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
These were characters you could really sink your teeth into, and for some reason most of them reminded me of my estranged uncle. I loved the prose, the road trips and the mystery that surrounded this book. Each chapter will leave you wishing for more, but you will have to wait. Read this book before they make it into a movie and ruin it.
Jun 11, 2015 Zoeytron rated it liked it
Shelves: public-library
This is a book that begs the question 'Who would you be if you weren't who you are?' We're talking mass quantities of identity theft here, folks. Reinventing oneself has never been easier with the advent of the internet.

Fine writing, taut pacing, and questionable characters make for a good story. Ah, 'the grotesque performance of privilege.' Just throwing that last in there because it was so tasty to read.
William Thomas
Oct 24, 2010 William Thomas rated it did not like it
Shelves: dreck
Dan Chaon's novel was reviewed and touted as being a "book for our age", giving us the quintessential text on "identity in the 21st century" and so on and so forth. The theme of the book intrigued me- identity theft in an age of exponentially boosting computer bureaucracy and the separation from the tangible personhood. Or at least that is what I thought the theme would be.

It turned out to be nothing so thrilling or philosophical as that, opting instead to take the low road and use the premise
Katherine Coble
Sep 07, 2009 Katherine Coble rated it it was ok
This book was a bit of a disappointment.

It came highly recommended from a number of sources and was described as a face-paced thriller of psychological suspence.


It does start off with a thriller-esque vibe as one character is rushed to the hospital, his severed hand on ice. From there it turns swiftly into a fine example of a MFA thesis project-cum-blog, with much meandering pondering on the meaning(less) of life, the lack of direction in the Generation Y population, the uselessness of colleg
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Jun 04, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Lovers of Literate Mysteries
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: A friend
The story starts with three seemingly unconnected narratives. First, that of Ryan, who in the opening scene is being rushed to the hospital with his detached hand. Then also Lucy, recent high school grad running away with her history teacher. Finally, there's Miles, searching for his missing twin brother. What propels you through the book is wanting to find out how these three connect up. I had some guesses, some right, but didn't get quite how all they all fitted till the end--the author says i ...more
Scott Rhee
Oct 28, 2014 Scott Rhee rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, crime
The characters in Dan Chaon's novel "Await Your Reply" are all dealing with identity issues. Some of them have been forced to change their identity, some willingly change their identity, and others have no identity unless its in relationship to another person.

"Await Your Reply" has all the elements of a noir thriller: characters with shady pasts, long cons, femme fatales, mafia hit men, amateur detectives. It has several mysteries working at once, although at the outset, the reader intuitively k
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Await Your Reply examines the question of identity in old and new ways. Throughout the book there's a philosophical undercurrent dealing with that ancient question of what constitutes a "self." The plot ties into that question using the more recent issue of identity theft, which allows people to erase their life histories and "be" an entirely different person.

The exploration of these themes was, for me, the most appealing thing about the book. The switches and stumbles of the characters made me
William Ramsay
May 08, 2010 William Ramsay rated it it was ok
This is an odd book. It's well written, interesting, and the characters are very well drawn. But it's confusing and has the worst ending of any book I think I have ever read.
It is mostly concerned with identity theft. Most of the characters are involved with various scams to empty people bank accounts. There are some Russians who come into it (no explanation what that's all about).
The main villain is the schizophrenic twin brother of one of the main characters who has spent his life trying t
Dec 31, 2009 Suzanne rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Effortless, drinking a clear glass full of cool water... his words glide along the pages and tell their story with grace and precision.

This is a story that grabs you softly, but before you realize it, you cannot put it down.
The characters are diverse and complicated in their seeming simplicity. Mr. Chaon manages to let us peek into their inner lives, and, in doing so, we find bits and pieces of ourselves.
He is extremely adept at allowing us to step into present day reality, while not bei
Sep 04, 2015 Bandit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So impressed was I by Chaon's You Remind Me of Me, that I absolutely had to read more by the author and this one didn't disappoint. It actually impressed further, terrific sophomore accomplishment. Chaon revisits the same themes from his debut here, themes obviously dear to his heart, like adoption, relationships between brothers and most importantly the nature of identity. That's what Await Your Reply is about really, a quest for identity, stolen, invented or otherwise, a meditation on the conc ...more
Dustin Crazy little brown owl
Jan 30, 2016 Dustin Crazy little brown owl rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who are attracted to the idea of Alternate Realities :-)
MY FAVORITE BOOK. I find that I can relate to this story :-) Every time I read this book, I pick up more details.

"I myself, from the very beginning,
Seemed to myself like someone's dream or delirium
Or a reflection in someone else's mirror,
Without flesh, without meaning, without a name.
Already I knew the list of crimes
That I was destined to commit."
"Northern Elegies" (as quoted in Await Your Reply)
"First say to yourself what yo
Alex Mili
Aug 26, 2010 Alex Mili rated it liked it
This book is mediocre, but not a waste of time. It is a quick and easy read, so the short time that it takes to read it doesn't feel like a waste (and the predicibility of the plot sppeds things along too). AYR is the story (actually three stories) of people who abandon their identities, whether for financial gain, the sheer joy of manipulating others, or a complete disgust with true identity. My biggest complaint about this book is that it tries to be suspenseful, but it fails miserably in its ...more
Sep 19, 2009 Ak rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
switterbug (Betsey)
Feb 26, 2011 switterbug (Betsey) rated it really liked it
E-e-r-i-e. It is irresponsible to tell you much more than that, because this book hinges on the reader's simultaneous suspicion and disarmament at every twist and turn. Much of the book is necessarily circumspect, which made me feel distant and dislocated during the first 2/3 of the story. And although a lot of it takes place in wide open, (and often) desolate places, I felt a contraction of space and time, and a reader's claustrophobia. The narrative edges collapsed into a flat darkness, and I ...more
Paul Pessolano
Jan 28, 2011 Paul Pessolano rated it it was ok
This novel has been described as the lives of three different people and how they interconnect.

The first person we meet is Ryan, who can answer to several different last names. He was born to an unwed mother and adopted. He considers his whole life a lie and leaves Northwestern University after using his tuition money for other purposes. He reunites with his biological father who is running a money scam.

Lucy Lattimore lost her parents in an automoblile accident while she was in high school. She
Jul 19, 2011 Nora rated it liked it
I thought this book was pretty engaging, and I am waffling between three and four stars. I usually don't see the twist coming but I got it pretty much immediately with this one. The alternating storylines sort of made each one shallower than I wanted it to be, I think. Like I just wanted him to kick it up a notch, because the premise of each of the three stories is so rich. Because actually, not much really happens in each of the three plotlines; each of the characters is on the edge on somethin ...more
Aug 24, 2010 Judy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: contemporary fiction lovers, reading groups
Wow! This novel blew me away. I read it for a reading group and it was my pick, but it turned out to be different and very much more that I thought it would be from the blurbs I had seen. Yes, it includes identity theft as a plot point, but actually it is about identity: how do we get our identity as a person, how do we become confused about it, lose it, change it? While identity is a timely concept and the story is modern, somehow Dan Chaon also makes it universal, timeless and personal to the ...more
May 21, 2009 Edan rated it it was amazing
I loved, loved, loved this novel--and not just because I know the writer. Really, I'm actually pretty hard on books written by people I know; I'm like that teacher who, when her son takes her class, is especially strict and unimpressed. I think it's just that I don't want to go easy on a book just because I know its author. I put up defenses, and of course my expectations are high. Anyway. This novel is gorgeous and riveting, and weird in that Dan Chaon way we've all come to know and love. It ma ...more
Jenny Roth
Jun 26, 2010 Jenny Roth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 26, 2011 Hillary rated it liked it
Listen Goodreads, get with the program and allow half-star ratings--I'd really like to give AWAIT YOUR REPLY 3.5 but just can't bring myself to give it a full 4.

It's interesting to read this because I was JUST having a conversation with a coworker (and later a follow-up conversation with my boyfriend) about how contemporary writers find it difficult to incorporate computer use/the internet use into their novels. Is this because, what with technological updates happening roughly every millisecon
B the BookAddict
Sep 21, 2013 B the BookAddict rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: if you like a psychological mystery. And Michael, Brenda, Elaine
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: Goodreads recommendations

Dan Chaon's Await Your Reply is literary fiction/psychological mystery with identity theft, missing persons and internet scam all rolled into one. A major theme is the enduring discussion of what subsumes the identity of 'self'. I am mindful that to say too much about the plot would constitute a spoiler. The bare bones are: Miles is on a seemingly never-ending search for his ingenious but schizophrenic identical twin, Lucy has just abandoned her real life and is about to embark on another and Ry
Sep 20, 2009 Felicity rated it it was ok
Apparently, there are two reactions to this book--you either love it or hate it. I certainly didn't hate it, but my overall assessment couldn't be described as anything more than lukewarm. There are six main characters (actually less or more depending upon how you interpret the plot...can you see why I was frustrated???)...let's just say there are ostensibly six characters in this novel: Ryan & Jay; Lucy & George; Miles and Hayden. Keeping that many plots and balls juggling in the air is ...more
Dec 31, 2012 Snotchocheez rated it it was amazing

(4.5 stars)

If you haven't already made acquaintance with Dan Chaon's work, do so. Like yesterday. Might as well start with Await Your Reply a taut thriller with a focus on identity: Identity theft, mistaken identity, multiple identities. Three seemingly separate disparate stories, weave back and forth and comprise a tapestry of wackitude you're not soon to forget. The ending was not quite as satisfying as I'd hoped, but I'm giving the guy the benefit of the doubt as much of his repertoire seems
Christopher Enzi
Jul 01, 2013 Christopher Enzi rated it it was amazing
Best novel I've read in a Long Time!
This stories weaves through the lives of various characters who are all touched by loss, longing, insanity and the nebulous nature of personal identity. It's rather like Malick's film BADLANDS but with mind games, twisted affinities and schizophrenia replacing the gunslinging. It's a thrilling, passionate, romantic and gothic novel full of suspense and surprise. I'd recommend it.
May 13, 2014 Beth rated it really liked it
I wasn’t expecting this book to have much appeal to me for its thriller-esque qualities and subsequently wasn’t as disappointed with it as some Goodreaders were. I respect what Chaon was doing with his exploration of identity theft, both the online invasion form, and the other equally disturbing form, when one person allows another to overly shape who he/she is, which isn’t really theft so much as poor judgment. There are other ways that identity theft occurs, but I don't want to be a spoiler. Y ...more
May 02, 2010 Maicie rated it it was amazing
Miles is searching for his brother who has been missing for ten years. Lucy has run off with her high school history teacher. And Ryan has just discovered his whole life has been a lie. Three people who never meet but are connected nevertheless.

This is one of those books that as soon as you're done you immediately want to reread.

Highly recommended.
Jan 05, 2011 Barbara rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: steve
Recommended to Barbara by: Susan Sherwin
Shelves: mystery
This book is definitely a "page turner".

Dan Chaon has cleverly woven tales of three characters and their associates to form bonds of intrigue and complex dubious connections. The major thrust of this novel is identity theft. While obviously it is a method for criminal gain, it is also a means for escape from their previous intolerable lives and a process for burying their true identities. The people are clearly and masterfully drawn throughout. Although each is different, they are all unmindful
Nov 29, 2010 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Await Your Reply" is a book I'll think about for a while. Chaon deals with the themes of identity and identity theft in the age of the internet, and he grabbed my attention on page one and never let up. The author does not follow a linear narrative structure. Rather, he uses pairs of characters, seemingly unrelated to the other pairs, although the author eventually makes connections between them in this fine woven novel. It's written like a thriller with clues at the end of each chapter, and I ...more
Larry Hoffer
This book is c-r-e-e-p-y because you realize just how real the situations the characters find themselves in can be. Dan Chaon is an amazing writer and I found this book to be a fantastic, quick read, that I probably need to read over again in order to ensure I didn't miss any of the nuance.

This book tells three parallel stories: Lucy, who flees her Ohio town with her high school teacher; Ryan, a college student struggling with the pressures of being who his parents want him to be, who finds out
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intersecting story lines 2 6 Apr 09, 2015 10:25PM  
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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
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“I never wanted to get to a point in my life where I knew what was going to happen next. I felt like most people just couldn't wait until they found themselves settled down into a routine and they didn't have to think about the next day, or the next year, or the next decade because it was all planned out for them. I can't understand how people can settle for having just one life.” 11 likes
“So this was what it felt like to lose yourself. Again. To let go of your future and let it rise up and up until finally you couldn't see it anymore, and you knew that you had to start over.” 8 likes
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