Giedra's Reviews > Await Your Reply

Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon
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's review
Dec 30, 11

bookshelves: book-club, kindle
Read from December 25 to 29, 2011

Really enjoyed this book; look forward to discussing it with my book club.

The book tells 3 different stories, with all 3 centering on the topic of identity. Miles Cheshire has lived out his adult life seeking a long-lost twin brother, making the search a bigger part of his identity than any other. Orphaned high school senior Lucy Lattimore runs away with her history teacher to escape small town life, and wonders if it's really possible to recreate a new life. And college student Ryan learns about his true parentage and drops out of college to live with his biological father, and he, too, wonders about who he really was and is, and who he could be in the future.

I also liked the interview with the author at the end of the book, and the bonus section that was cut from the actual book but was in a draft, which was written from the point of view of Miles' twin brother.

Some bits I liked:

[Ryan's] "life": it felt suddenly so abstract and tenuous.

[Lucy] wondered if [George] had been caught in a truth--the same way some people were caught in a lie.

Anais Nin quote: "We see things not as they are, but as we are. Because it is the 'I' behind the 'eye' that does the seeing."

Jay: "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."

[Lucy's] future was like a city she had never visited. A city on the other side of the country, and she was driving down the road, with all her possessions packed up in the backseat of the car, and the route was clearly marked on her map, and then she stopped at a rest area and saw that the place she was headed to wasn't there any longer.... In one life, there was a city you were on your way to. In another, it was just a place you'd invented."

[Lucy] was aware of that wavering shadow passing over her once again, all the different people she herself had wanted to become, all the sadness and anxiety that she had been trying not to think about now shifting above her like an iceberg.

[Miles, driving to downtown Cleveland for the first time] had an apocalyptic feeling, a last-man-on-earth feeling... It was the feeling you got when you woke up and everyone you loved was dead. [I liked that one because it made me laugh: How many of us have ever had that happen to us to know that feeling?]

Optimism wasn't easy to come by walking down Prospect Avenue.

Lydia: "What kind of person decides that they can throw everything away and--reinvent themselves. As if you could just discard the parts of your life that you didn't want anymore. Sometimes I think, well, that's where we are now, as a society. That's just what people have become, these days. We don't value connection."

Epictetus: "First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do."

It was like butterflies had begun to light on [Lucy], hundreds of butterflies, and they were each one of them made of lead. It wasn't long before she was covered with them.
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