Saturday, July 21, 2012

Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon

A madman can be who he wants

Await Your Reply left me cold. Maybe after J.M. Coetzee, my standards are too high. This is a well crafted earnest novel addressing the issue of fluid identity in modern America culture, and there was much beautiful inventive imagery: a drained dam, Nunavut, orphans galore and magic tricks. But for me the novel was like a puzzle made of ice. I just didn’t care about any of the characters – they were selfish and unpleasant, but selfishness and unpleasantness hasn’t stopped me before. I think I didn’t care about the characters because the characters didn’t care about anything. Not really.

The novel consists of three stories which come together at the end (unsurprisingly in my opinion). A brother searches for his insane twin, a girl realizes her boyfriend is not what he seems, a college kid gets involved in a life of crime.

The only story I was interested in was that of the sane brother searching for his twin because he was the only one with any feelings. I definitely wanted more of him and his relationships. He really wanted to save his brother. He wanted to recreate the innocent past. He was interesting.

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