Dan Chaon - book author
Dan Chaon is the author of Among the Missing, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and You Remind Me of Me, which was named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, The Christian Science Monitor, and Entertainment Weekly, among other publications. Chaon’s fiction has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize, and The O. Henry Prize Stories. He has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award in Fiction, and he was the recipient of the 2006 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Chaon lives in Cleveland, Ohio, and teaches at Oberlin College, where he is the Pauline M. Delaney Professor of Creative Writing. His new novel, Await Your Reply, will be published in late August 2009.
Dan Chaon is the author of books: Await Your Reply, Ill Will, You Remind Me of Me, Among the Missing, Stay Awake, Fitting Ends, The Beckoning Fair One, Big Me, Little America, How We Escaped Our Certain Fate
Longing to get on with his life, Miles Cheshire nevertheless can't stop searching for his troubled twin brother, Hayden, who has been missing for ten years. Hayden has covered his tracks skillfully, moving stealthily from place to place, managing along the way to hold down various jobs and seem, to the people he meets, entirely normal. But some version of the truth is always concealed.
A few days after graduating from high school, Lucy Lattimore sneaks away from the small town of Pompey, Ohio, with her charismatic former history teacher. They arrive in Nebraska, in the middle of nowhere, at a long-deserted motel next to a dried-up reservoir, to figure out the next move on their path to a new life. But soon Lucy begins to feel quietly uneasy.
My whole life is a lie, thinks Ryan Schuyler, who has recently learned some shocking news. In response, he walks off the Northwestern University campus, hops on a bus, and breaks loose from his existence, which suddenly seems abstract and tenuous. Presumed dead, Ryan decides to remake himself through unconventional and precarious means.
Await Your Reply is a literary masterwork with the momentum of a thriller, an unforgettable novel in which pasts are invented and reinvented and the future is both seductively uncharted and perilously unmoored.
“We are always telling a story to ourselves, about ourselves,” Dustin Tillman likes to say. It’s one of the little mantras he shares with his patients, and it’s meant to be reassuring. But what if that story is a lie?
A psychologist in suburban Cleveland, Dustin is drifting through his forties when he hears the news: His adopted brother, Rusty, is being released from prison. Thirty years ago, Rusty received a life sentence for the massacre of Dustin’s parents, aunt, and uncle. The trial came to symbolize the 1980s hysteria over Satanic cults; despite the lack of physical evidence, the jury believed the outlandish accusations Dustin and his cousin made against Rusty. Now, after DNA analysis has overturned the conviction, Dustin braces for a reckoning.
Meanwhile, one of Dustin’s patients gets him deeply engaged in a string of drowning deaths involving drunk college boys. At first Dustin dismisses talk of a serial killer as paranoid thinking, but as he gets wrapped up in their amateur investigation, Dustin starts to believe that there’s more to the deaths than coincidence. Soon he becomes obsessed, crossing all professional boundaries—and putting his own family in harm’s way.
From one of today’s most renowned practitioners of literary suspense, Ill Will is an intimate thriller about the failures of memory and the perils of self-deception. In Dan Chaon’s nimble, chilling prose, the past looms over the present, turning each into a haunted place.
"You Remind Me of Me" begins with a series of separate incidents: In 1977, a little boy is savagely attacked by his mother's pet Doberman; in 1997 another little boy disappears from his grandmother's backyard on a sunny summer morning; in 1966, a pregnant teenager admits herself to a maternity home, with the intention of giving her child up for adoption; in 1991, a young man drifts toward a career as a drug dealer, even as he hopes for something better. With penetrating insight and a deep devotion to his characters, Dan Chaon" "explores the secret connections that irrevocably link them. In the process he examines questions of identity, fate, and circumstance: Why do we become the people that we become? How do we end up stuck in lives that we never wanted? And can we change the course of what seems inevitable?
In language that is both unflinching and exquisite, Chaon moves deftly between the past and the present in the small-town prairie Midwest and shows us the extraordinary lives of "ordinary" people.
In these haunting, suspenseful stories, lost, fragile, searching characters wander between ordinary life and a psychological shadowland. They have experienced intense love or loss, grief or loneliness, displacement or disconnection—and find themselves in unexpected, dire, and sometimes unfathomable situations.
A father’s life is upended by his son’s night terrors—and disturbing memories of the first wife and child he abandoned; a foster child receives a call from the past and begins to remember his birth mother, whose actions were unthinkable; a divorced woman experiences her own dark version of “empty-nest syndrome”; a young widower is unnerved by the sudden, inexplicable appearances of messages and notes—on dollar bills, inside a magazine, stapled to the side of a tree; and a college dropout begins to suspect that there’s something off, something sinister, in his late parents’ house.
Dan Chaon’s stories feature scattered families, unfulfilled dreamers, anxious souls. They exist in a twilight realm—in a place by the window late at night when the streets are empty and the world appears to be quiet. But you are up, unable to sleep. So you stay awake.
Written before Among the Missing and originally published by Northwestern University Press, Fitting Ends features thirteen stories detailing the almost panicked angst of the American generation now approaching thirty. Struggling with gaps between youthful expectations and adult experiences, these characters long for understanding and acceptance—but are thwarted by failed love, family disruptions, numbing work, and sexual confusion.
Chaon is one of the most promising new voices in fiction, and this re-issued collection offers further evidence of his unique talent.
“The best of these stories . . . possess a rare, disorienting force. When you look up from them, the quality of light seems a little different. It’s a reminder to those of us who have almost forgotten what literature can sometimes do.”
—Boston Book Review
“The most honest, observant and timely book written this year about the American generation now approaching thirty . . . Chaon speaks with clarity of feeling, and more than a little oddball wit, about the lives of those left behind the demographic curve of America—men and woman with pointless jobs, doughy faces, soured relationships, bad credit. . . . Each story pulls you into its subtle emotional vortex, largely because of Chaon’s knack for simple but poignant detail.”
—New York Newsday
“Remarkable . . . Each story is a marvel of complexity, dense with meaning and nuance. . . . Very few first works are as solid, moving, and pitch-perfect as Chaon’s.”
—The Cleveland Plain Dealer
“[AN] OFTEN PERCEPTIVE, LUCID VOICE.”
—The New York Times Book Review
All teenagers come of age. But in this spellbinding story by the bestselling author of Ill Will, one girl’s awakening requires something special. Something strange. Then it can all work like a charm.
Ever since they were orphaned, Tyler has kept close tabs on his sister, Shannon. He has to, considering her weird and risky obsessions. Now she has a new one: an inexplicable crush on an odd-looking stranger. And what Shannon wants from her unwitting “honey boy,” Tyler can’t begin to fathom. Not until he follows his sister into the darkest corners of her desires.
The Beckoning Fair One is part of Disorder, a collection of six short stories of living nightmares, chilling visions, and uncanny imagination that explore a world losing its balance in terrifying ways. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single disorienting sitting.
As an infection rages, leaving a swath of horror in its wake, Peter and his father do their best to maintain normal lives. Peter, just a child when the infection took hold of the nation, has taken up a militaristic and punitive view of how to deal with the walking dead. His father, however, can’t help but feel compassion for the creatures.
When they discover their fence has been breached, Peter’s father suspects the intruder is much more than a rabid zombie—and risks everything with his heart.