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Among the Missing

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4.04  ·  Rating details ·  2,483 ratings  ·  237 reviews
In this haunting, bracing new collection, Dan Chaon shares stories of men, women, and children who live far outside the American Dream, while wondering which decision, which path, or which accident brought them to this place. Chaon mines the psychological landscape of his characters to dazzling effect. Each story radiates with sharp humor, mystery, wonder, and startling co ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 29th 2002 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2001)
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4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,483 ratings  ·  237 reviews


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Nandakishore Varma
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Parastoo
Jun 01, 2015 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
Al!
Jun 14, 2016 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
Erin
Nov 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Scott Rhee
May 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Amir
Nov 15, 2013 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
Sheri
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Matt
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
2nd reading, 5 years later: Still good! I mostly feel the same way I felt in my previous review. I just got the urge to pick it up and give it a re-read one day, so I did. Some of the same repetitions caught my eye, but a few different ones. Lines like "Something is happening to her" repeat throughout the story, and the meaning I took from that, among the literally missing people in this story (fathers, mothers, children) the most significant loss is the self. None of the main characters in thes ...more
Sandie Buto
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is my second read of this collection. The first go round, I rated it a 4. I think the stories are just as good but that I am not in the right frame of mind to appreciate them. It does so matter about where you are in life when you read a book. If I were a good reader, would I be able to appreciate good literature no matter what?

I found the stories very depressing this time around. As I face a new type of relationship with my now grown up sons, these stories reflect always complicated and u
...more
Christian Lincoln
Sep 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Alice Lippart
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
This didn't really do it for me, unfortunately. A few stories were good, but overall I didn't think this was anything extraordinary or particularly beautiful - it all felt a bit dull to me.
Joanna
May 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Kirstie
Sep 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
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
Mar 17, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
May 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Ahmad Sharabiani
Among the Missing, Dan Chaon
عنوان: در ميان گمشدگان مجموعه داستان؛ نویسنده: دن چاون (شاون)؛ مترجم: امیرمهدی حقیقت؛ ویرایش: تحریریه نشر مرکز؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، نشر مرکز، 1383، در 149 ص، و شش صفحه، شابک: 9643057569؛ این کتاب گزدیده از داستانهای دو مجموعه به نام «پایان، جفت و جور» و «در میان گمشدگان» است؛ موضوع: داستانهای کوتاه از نویسندگان امریکایی قرن 20 م
Anna
Oct 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've never been a big short story fan in general but I feel like this book changed that.
Marvin
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
A well-crafted collection of stories centered around people--mainly Nebraskans, often looking back to childhoods affected by alcohol and parents’ marital strife--a bit at odds in the world, with parts or people missing, those not quite at home. These stories build piece by piece, deftly building scene and world and sentiment in relatively short bursts of scenes separated by white space. They don’t always build to entirely satisfying conclusions, sometimes hide around the reveal of a secret that ...more
Corny
May 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
I have to say that I found these stories of the Midwest to be uninteresting, almost barren. I am sure this is a minority opinion as this writer is highly thought of, but I felt the stories were pretty much all the same. The father is a drunk or has abandoned the family. The mother is distant, cold or has died when the children were young. The kids are a mixed bag of geeks, dysfunctional addicts or relatively normal. The thought that pervades almost every story is that we don't know what other p ...more
Scott Brillon
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the kind of collection of short stories that just hits you where it hurts. Everyone in it is missing someone. This collection is at turns haunting, unsettling, and utterly fascinating. A stand out story, in my opinion one of the best things ever written, "Here's a Little Something to Remember Me By" a man is haunted by the secret he has been keeping for much of his life about a missing boy who he was once friends with. It raises those specters of the past of which we are never truly free ...more
Sarah
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
The majority of these stories are depressing as fuck, but Chaon’s empathy toward his characters is comforting, even as you read with the sense that they will end up nowhere good. Chaon’s writing has a creepiness that I like: not the overt (or at least heavily implied) supernaturalism of weird fiction, but the suggestion, the possibility of it.
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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
“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. ” 32 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. ” 32 likes
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