Await Your Reply

A Novel
By: Dan Chaon
Narrated by: Kirby Heyborne
Length: 10 hrs and 29 mins
Categories: Fiction, Contemporary
3.5 out of 5 stars (237 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the award-winning author of Among the Missing, Fitting Ends, and You Remind Me of Me, comes an ambitious, gripping, and beautifully written new novel about identity in the tradition of The Talented Mr. Ripley and Case Histories.

Three strangers who are trying to find their way in the wake of loss become entwined in an identity theft scheme, which has a resounding impact on them all.

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.

A few days after graduating from high school, Lucy Lattimore sneaks away from the small town of Pompey, Ohio, with her charismatic former history teacher. They arrive in Nebraska, in the middle of nowhere, at a long-deserted motel next to a dried-up reservoir, to figure out the next move on their path to a new life.

My whole life is a lie, thinks Ryan Schuyler, who has recently learned some shocking news. In response, he walks off the Northwestern University campus, hops on a bus, and breaks loose from his existence, which suddenly seems abstract and tenuous.

A gorgeously written psychological study, and a meditation on identity in the modern world, this is a literary novel with the haunting momentum of a thriller.

©2009 Dan Chaon (P)2009 Phoenix

Critic Reviews

"This novel's structure echoes that of his well-received debut - also a book of threes - even as it bests that book's elegant prose, haunting plot and knockout literary excellence." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Well Narrated, but Thoroughly Depressing

Funny - or maybe not funny - but promising American writers like Dan Chaon tend to define literary realism as 'devoid of any human feelings aside from deep morbid depression.' Sure, it's well written, but each character that is introduced in Await Your Reply is less interesting and more dislikable than the last. There isn't a grain of humor in this book. If that is realism, let's have some fantasy.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully Written, Beautifully Read

I found the story and characters engrossing, and could not have been more delighted with the way Kirby Heyborne performed it. As he spoke for each of the characters, there were subtle, but noticeable changes in voicing and "melody." His reading supported and enhanced the text for me.

Chaon makes a main character, who is essentially a sociopath, human, which is to say never fully understandable, but utterly recognizable. The other characters, touched and often injured by this man seem as real as if I had actually met them. A nice blend of interior monologue, exterior interaction and beautiful writing. Reminded me of Michael Cunningham, whose work I also admire. Five stars.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

This is not for everyone, but what a treat

This is my second novel by Dan Chaon, read back to back. It is even better than Ill Will but, like Ill Will, it is not for the faint of heart. The characters are dark and often despicable. I can see how many would find the outcome depressing. And yet...the WRITING. And the STORIES. Quite original and coming together in ways that will surprise you even if you expected half of it. Hope he writes a third novel soon.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Hard going, but worth it in the end

This is an often depressing story--I would get to work after listening on my morning commute and just feel anxious all day. I could hardly go on at one point, but the thriller-style plot made me want to finish, and by the end I was very glad I'd persevered.
The narrator is only fair--he may have been picked because he could read the short passages in a Slavic language.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

very original

I have not read any Chaon books so did not know his style, but I enjoyed the way he told this story. It is not about "identity-theft" but rather the personalities of those who find themselves entwined in the lives of these identity thieves. They could have just as well been common criminals, but the fact they are identity thieves makes it more interesting and relevant to our time. The three main characters are involved, in one way or another, with these thieves in some dysfunctional manner because of a character flaw of his or her own.

It is a book that could studied, and essays written, about the characters and all of the symbolic references and so forth, upbringing, and what have you, about their lives and what leads them to become what they are. It is close to a five star on my scale.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • D
  • 01-30-10

Clever

Good choice if you want a psychological ride while peeking at an unfamiliar side of life. The pace is established from the very beginning and this is a book that could be listened to more than once.
Narration was good but not perfect.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Compelling and fascinating

This book kept my attention until the very last word. As other reviews have said, it reads like a thriller, although it's not. It's a powerful, thoughtful study of the psychology of identity and identity theft, and the people who perpetrate it. As the story weaves in and out of the lives of a handful of characters, including the relatives of the con artists, it raises issues of how each of us defines who we are -- as human beings and within the context of our family and society. It's also a study in deception - of others and of ourselves. It's one of those books that I'm almost sorry I 'read', because now I've lost the ability to experience it for the first time. I'll probably listen to it again anyway. I hope this author's other books are as good as this one. I just can't say enough good things about this book - and several professional reviewers have had a similar opinion. What an extremely satisfying read!

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Good But You Have to Wait For It.

Overall this book is very enjoyable. Not only is the story interesting, but Chaon offers up a series of scenarios that ask the question, sometimes a little heavy handed, of the true meaning of 'self.' Who are we? Are we really more than a name and a SSN? If people forget us, are we still alive?

One of the drawbacks of this book is that it takes a while to pull you in. The characters are not very lovable or interesting for the first 1/2 of the story, but once they truly begin to develop, you do start to care about them and are holding your breath to hear what happens next.

Be careful reading other reviews about this book...I did and some made comments about aspects of the story that I would have rather not known about. Just a friendly heads up.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Waiting and waiting for this story to get started.

Long drawn out character descriptions, but where is the plot? Three hours in and nothing is happening!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Unique storyline

What did you love best about Await Your Reply?

What a unique story with so many twists/turns. Have to pay attention to the story lines - This book is not just a passive read