Just Finished Reading… Await Your Reply, by Dan Chaon

There’s nothing I love more than being surprised by a story. It doesn’t happen that often anymore. Movies, books, music, even the good ones, mostly are about what you expect when you’re getting into it. Every once in a while, something still surprises. And when it happens, I smile for weeks.

Await Your Reply is surprises all the way down. Being from NE Ohio myself, I had heard of this Dan Chaon character. An unassuming man quietly writing books in my back yard, teaching at Oberlin. I thought he wrote high-falutin’ stuff, American-family-distopia stuff. I don’t know who told me such lies. To be honest, I was finally moved to pick up one of his books because I’m desperately looking for fellow authors to “blurb” my debut novel. But I knew I was going to love this story from the synopsis.

Forget jerk-off elitist literary fare, this is a noir thriller written well. We are treated to three stories, told in alternating chapters. Each focusses on a character in search of an identity: a twin tracking his insane brother into the wastes of the arctic; a young man learning identity-theft from his estranged father; a demure young woman trying out a new life on the run with her former teacher. All great stories on their own.

And then, they begin to come together…

I’m not going to ruin anything about this read. You simply have to pick it up.

Await Your Reply is an exploration of what makes up our identity. And if we’re nothing more than compilation of memory, what do we become when we invent different histories? Can we ever truly reinvent who we are?