Saturday, September 19, 2009

Await Your Reply

Identity. Who are we, really? Who are those others, really? Dan Chaon’s fine prose riffs on identity in his new novel. Await Your Reply. The title refers to those e-mails asking strangers for one’s help, especially in getting money out of foreign countries. While identity theft plays a part in Await Your Reply, the larger questions dominate as three connected stories play forward and backward for a reader’s alert engagement. Orphaned Lucy Lattimore leaps at the chance to leave the constraints of her small town with her Maserati-driving high school history teacher, George Orson. Miles Cheshire searches for his twin brother, Hayden, whom he hasn’t seen in 10 years. Ryan Schuyler has found his birth father, Jay Kozekek, and from their base in Saginaw, Michigan, they are running identity theft schemes. Nothing and no one is what it appears to be, and reading Await Your Reply can bring joy or frustration to readers, depending on one’s tolerance for surprise.

Rating: Three-star (Recommended)

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