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Await Your Reply

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3.54  ·  Rating details ·  13,268 ratings  ·  2,298 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
...more
Hardcover, First Edition (US/CAN), 324 pages
Published August 25th 2009 by Ballantine Books
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Average rating 3.54  · 
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B the BookAddict
May 25, 2013 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 of the story are: Miles is on a seemingly never-ending search for his genious but schizophrenic identical twin, Lucy has just abandoned her real life and is about to embark on ano
...more
Jonathan Ashleigh
Oct 07, 2014 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.
Steve
Feb 01, 2011 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
Katherine Coble
Sep 05, 2009 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
...more
Zoeytron
Jun 08, 2015 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 13, 2010 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
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read2019, tbr-explode
Await Your Reply had been on my TBR since 2009. When I tried it, I decided to keep reading. It has the feeling of his more recent book, Ill Will, in the sense that you know something is going on that you don't know yet but not what it is. The characters seem to be searching for missing people in their lives, definitely a theme of identity, created and stolen.
William Ramsay
May 08, 2010 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
...more
Scott Rhee
Oct 28, 2014 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
...more
Carol
May 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-book
This novel was 4.5 stars for me. It did make me a little paranoid now about identity theft. Still, I enjoyed how the (supposedly) unrelated stories connected in the end. I plan to read his other book soon.
Jeanette (Again)
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
...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Jun 04, 2010 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
Snotchocheez
Nov 26, 2012 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
...more
Dustin Crazy little brown owl
Mar 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who are attracted to the idea of Alternate Realities :-)
MY FAVORITE BOOK. The ultimate novel on individual identity and creating one's own reality. 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."
- ANNA AKHMATOVA,
"Northern Elegies" (as quoted in Await Your Reply)
-------
...more
Jeanette
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Patience required! Apart from the finely tuned personality breakdowns for each named character, very little else is "clear" during at least 1/2 of this novel. That's a lot of pages with flipping namesake stories. Not much of connection seems to exist other than one of troubled and at often times a inherent and roving unlike of self-identity. Each to their own place or spot or fit or job. And of course, family. Bad mixes all around. No satisfaction for the present coupled by even less in the youn ...more
Alex Mili
Aug 26, 2010 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
Suzanne
Oct 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Effortless,
...like 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
...more
Larry H
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
...more
switterbug (Betsey)
Feb 26, 2011 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
Felicity
Sep 20, 2009 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 difficu ...more
Ak
Sep 19, 2009 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bandit
Sep 04, 2015 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
Paul Pessolano
Jan 28, 2011 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
...more
Judy
Aug 24, 2010 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
Edan
May 07, 2009 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
Nora
Jul 19, 2011 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
Kathrina
Sep 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
I am now a dedicated Dan Chaon fan, though I'd be a much more convincing one if I knew how to pronounce his last name. You Remind Me of Me simply blew me away, and I knew I was in for a good ride with this one. Chaon introduces you to characters that seem fully formed and real, people we might know or live right next door, but as we spend time with them, we learn that we don't know all we think we did, which is true always, in life. To transfer that dynamic from real life onto the page is a real ...more
Celeste Ng
I started this at 10:50 am while waiting for a dentist appointment and was finished with it by 11:00 that night. That will tell you something about how gripping it was.
Ron Charles
Sep 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Don't read anything (except this) about Dan Chaon's mesmerizing new novel, "Await Your Reply." You need to step into this work of psychological suspense completely unprepared for what lurks in here. If somebody starts telling you what they liked best, put your fingers in your ears and sing: "La, la, la, la!" But you can trust me -- which is just what all the manipulative creeps in this novel say.

Here's what can be safely revealed about "Await Your Reply": It contains three separate stories about
...more
Jenny Roth
Jun 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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THE LISTS: 1st novel 10 21 Jan 22, 2012 10:45PM  

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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.” 13 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.” 9 likes
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