Saturday, May 19, 2012

Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon

A deliciously bleak story written in intricate poetic prose about one man's impact on the lives of the three people who think they love him: Ryan, a college student at Northwestern who has never met his father, Jay (and is exited to redefine himself by getting involved with him), Lucy, an intensely bored high school student who falls in love with her history teacher, George, and Miles, whose life is a series of unsuccessful searches for his schizophrenic brother, Hayden. AYR is about waking up and finding out that everything you thought you knew about your future, past, and present is incorrect, as when Lucy uncovers George's deception, "...the life she had been traveling toward - imagining herself into -- the ideas and expectations... this life had been erased. Like she stopped at a rest area on the way and the attendant said, you must be mistaken... a sense of sundering. It was the feeling you got when you woke up and everyone you loved was dead." You'll cringe as you watch the characters slide towards the realization that Jay/George/Hayden is not who he seems, thus rendering their reality false, with tragic consequences. Give it to anyone who has lost someone unexpectedly. Click here for the full NY Times review. Grade 10+