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First Part Last

(Books, Fiction, Mystery) Permanent link

Three compelling but unrelated stories unfurl in alternating chapters. The deftly drawn characters of Await Your Reply share just one common thread—the absence of any attachment to their personal histories. Gradually, the author injects a smattering of clues, subtle and easily overlooked, and eventually weaves a stunning web of connections between these people and their unraveling lives.

Dan Chaon employs several creative devices to render his writing unique, but time is the premiere trickster. Jumbled sequences bring to mind the dazzling film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, or the artful Memento, both of which whipsaw the viewer's sense of logic. But this literary telling progresses smoothly and most often masquerades as linear. A puzzling story whose ending happens before its beginning is bound to test the readers’ wit!

This is a "genre-bending" novel about the fragile nature of identity, an expose of technology’s ruinous potential, a masterful, if sobering, treatment of alienation, and a picture of the horrors that can befall people who lose their grounding---by chance or by choice.

Dan Chaon says his inspiration sprang from some favorite classics read in childhood, including some with a supernatural bent. I believe this chilling, contemporary spin on timeless themes is remarkable and fresh.

If you read this book, I’ll await your reply. It cries out to be discussed!


Await Your Reply

Posted by Mary Doud at 02/12/2010 07:31:45 AM