Await your Reply

Await your Reply

A Novel

Book - 2009
Average Rating:
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Three disparate characters and their oddly interlocking lives feature in this novel about lost souls and hidden identities. Chaon intertwines a trio of story lines, showcasing his characters' individuality by threading subtle connections between and among them.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, c2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780345476029
0345476026
Branch Call Number: FICTION CHAON 2009
Characteristics: 324 p. ; 25 cm

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p
Pisinga
Sep 02, 2015

What a tedious book! Couldn't finish it.

r
readsalot80
Feb 28, 2015

The three main characters have an unknown connection. Miles is looking for his missing twin brother. Lucy has run away with her teacher with promises of money. Jay has run away to be with his birth father. I didn't like the style of this book. Each chapter was from a different character's point of view. I've read other books in this style that I liked but not this one. The ending has a surprising twist but felt unfinished.

m
mre5832
Jan 09, 2015

This book is intriguing in how it weaves the lives of 3 individuals in an interesting twist of a story.

Jane60201 Aug 29, 2014

Unusual theme for a book but got tedious after a while.

o
okbookgirl
Apr 24, 2014

Best novel ever about identity theft. This is an intelligent and well-crafted thriller. Great read.

l
lucky38
Jan 29, 2014

started this book, stopped and started another one and decided to give this one another try. Read the reviews and thought I had to read it, the reviews were mostly 5 stars. Well, I would like to say I totally understood this book but that is not the case. I could not tie George and Lucy to the other two. Not sure I will read this author again.

WVMLBookClubTitles Jun 09, 2013

Who are you? Are you a product of your genetic and sociological history? Or can you invent yourself? Opening with a scene of high tension, Await Your Reply takes on the momentum of a thriller and draws the reader into the minds of three strangers whose lives are connected in unforeseen ways. This intelligent, masterfully crafted work not only keeps you guessing, but also makes you question the concept of identity. Of course, there’s also the added fun of determining who in your book club puts the pieces together first!

a
ambergrey100
Jan 20, 2013

As strange and weird as they come. Not for everyone but if you like strange and weird and a book that makes you search for the clues then you may find this book riveting.

clipshie175 Jan 10, 2013

A little sordid but incredibly readable.

j
JimLoter
Aug 25, 2012

Other reviewers have successfully focused on the book's theme of the mutability of identity, which Dan Chaon explores through three seemingly (at first) unrelated narratives. The most intriguing aspect of this theme to me is the extent to which identity is influenced, reinforced, or even granted to a person by others - especially those others whom we consider authority figures. In a way the three stories in Await Your Reply are each examining the impact of the loss or radical disruption of these external influences upon the characters' own identities. In that sense, it reveals the dangers of relying to heavily on others for one's sense of self. If you define yourself as a function of someone else, what happens when that someone else is not who you think they are?

Ryan - whom we meet shortly after he literally loses a piece of himself - has just met a man claiming to be his real father and so estranges himself from his newly-discovered-to-be-adoptive parents. Lucy is flailing in the aftermath of her parents' death and runs away with a high school teacher. And Miles is lost and struggling to find his missing twin brother who he's realizing has become insane. It's clear in each case that the missing parties have been responsible for bestowing a considerable degree of stability to each character, and now that the nature of those affirming relationship is transformed, the characters' very identities are in question.

Viewing the central theme in this way helped me understand the book's title. The characters are constantly awaiting the reply of the other - the "real" father, the older lover, the missing twin brother - because they cannot close the loop on their own selves until that feedback is received.

In terms of quality, the book is consistently engrossing despite the disjointed nature of the narrative structure. The Miles/Hayden tale was the most enjoyable to me and played around the most with the timeline. In many ways, it was the anchor story of the three with a deep exploration of an identity that is inextricably linked with another half (the twin-as-doppelgänger).

The Lucy/George tale was the most colorful given the unusual settings and the interesting character of teenager-cum-adult Lucy who struggles with the childish appeal of her life as an outlaw with a growing adult sense of how wrong everything seems. To underscore this coming-of-age aspect, George's scheme even has 19-year-old Lucy transform into a 15-year-old (through hair dye and a ridiculous T-shirt) and then morph into a 25-year-old.

I felt that the Ryan/Jay story suffered a bit from not really have a lot for the characters to do. It was by far the most introspective thread and sort of dragged things down a bit as if unfolded. However, it was successful in presenting a very detailed account of the technical aspects of identity and the role that credentials, documentation, and information plays in establishing a self.

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