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Await Your Reply

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  9,628 ratings  ·  1,912 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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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
William Thomas
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
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
Scott Rhee
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
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Jun 04, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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
Dec 31, 2009 Suzanne rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
Alex Mili
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
William Ramsay
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
switterbug (Betsey)
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
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
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 5 of 5 stars
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
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
Dustin Crazy little brown owl
MY FAVORITE BOOK. I find that I can relate to this story :-) Move Over Dean Koontz - Dan Chaon is currently my #1 Favorite Author!

"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
Jeniffer Almonte
This book is slight. Very slight. The author starts out with an interesting idea (the plot revolves around a ring of identity theft criminals as well as a pair of twin brothers, one of whom is possibly insane and has mysteriously dissapeared).

But Chaon never moves beyond the idea. He seems to think that was all he needed, so he doesn't put any effort into writing an actual book with a real story and real people. The handful of characters are never fully developed and they interact with each oth
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 4 of 5 stars
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
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

(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
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.
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
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 4 of 5 stars
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
"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
Chaon, Dan. AWAIT YOUR REPLY. (2009). *****. This is the author’s second novel and fourth book. His last novel, “You Remind Me of Me,” convinced me that he had mastered both the short story form (his earlier collection, “Among The Missing,” was short-listed for a National Book Award), and I was looking forward to his next effort. He managed to wow me again with both his writing skill and his ability to weave sub-plots together into an integrated whole. In this novel, we follow the adventures of ...more
Nate LeBoutillier
It took me a long time to finish this guy, and I kept with it mainly because it came so highly recommended from a number readers I respect. I don't know what exactly it was that I never totally fell for, but I figure it has something to do with the (what I consider, anyway) cardinal sin of withholding in order to create tension and/or conflict.
I felt like the severed hand thing in the opening was a big tease, especially I had to read some 250 pages more to find out what that was all about. Th
Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym)
I'm still not sure how I feel about this head trip of a book. In some ways it was immensely satisfying and rewarding, particularly for the dedicated Chaon reader who sees his persistent preoccupations (brothers, twins, family, identity, disassociation) rise to the surface in a slightly different format.

In other ways, it seems totally unresolved in a way that's hard to explain without using a sexual metaphor: big buildup, no release. For me, anyway.

What I absolutely loved: the echoed phrases and
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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...
You Remind Me of Me Among the Missing Stay Awake Fitting Ends Big Me

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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.” 10 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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