“Await Your Reply” by Dan Chaon

I re-read Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon, ostensibly for Books and Bars. But for those of you who don’t live in MN, we got a monster storm last weekend with 16+ inches followed by bitter sub-zero weather. The streets are plowed out mostly, but parking and the cold are still formidable. I skipped B & B and stayed home, snuggled down on the loveseat with my husband and 2 boys for The Muppet Christmas Carol. 7yo Drake remembered many details from last year. 4yo Guppy covered his eyes at the scary parts. And husband G. Grod didn’t quite stay awake for the whole thing. The Marley brothers, Jacob and “Robert”? Ha! It was a satisfying night.

But, back to Await Your Reply, which I read earlier this year and thought was very good. A re-read not only confirmed, but increased my high opinion of it. This is a smart, fast-paced mystery, with sympathetic and fascinating characters. Ryan is a young man who has recently met his birth father and established a relationship with him. Lucy is a high school senior who runs off with her history teacher from small-town Pompey, Ohio. And Miles Cheshire has been trying to find his missing twin Hayden for over a decade. The chapters alternate among these three tales and six characters. The momentum and connections build until the book becomes hard to, and irritating to have to, put down. I found it well worth re-reading, noticing many more small details that flew by me the first time, and making me wonder at all the things I still might be missing, including allusions Chaon refers to in the author interview at the end of the TPB.

Read this book. And read it again. I do not think you’ll be disappointed. Enthralled, rather.

Wondering: why was this book not included in the 2010 Morning News Tournament of Books? I think it could have handily bested the winner of last year, Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.

Obsessive book-geek good news: The long list for the 2011 tournament was published this morning!

Obsessive book-geek better news: They’re accepting applications for a guest judge! I’m going to apply! I’m all aquiver with geek joy.

3 Responses to ““Await Your Reply” by Dan Chaon”

  1. Amy Says:

    I’m not quite finished with my re-read, but I wholeheartedly agree, it’s worth a second visit. Unusual for a mystery, but that speaks to how well written it is.

    Are we going to compete for a guest judge spot?? Oh dear!

  2. Steph Says:

    I have Await Your Reply somewhere in my towering TBR stacks… I’ll be heading to MN for Xmas this year with my inlaws, so perhaps that’s one of the books I should bring with?

    Also, the long list is so long! At first I was so pleased to see I had read quite a few of the titles, but once I saw the length I realized the chances of the pocketful I’ve read making the shortlist are likely slim. But I actually think the choices seem really solid and am excited to see the shortlist! Also, you’d be a fantastic guest judge!

  3. Kate Says:


    And was Await Your Reply on the long list last year? I distinctly remember reading it for TOB, but I forgot it didn’t make the tournament.

    I’m using the long list as a good guide for books to read in the new year, as opposed to reading them for the TOB. I’ve started dividing them into already read/buy/library lists.