Await Your Reply: A Novel
4 out of 5: In this gripping literary thriller, Dan Chaon weaves together three distinct story lines, each with its own set of fully formed characters, including a father-son team of identity thieves, a high school teacher who skips town with his favorite female student, and a man searching for his mentally-ill twin brother. The plot switches from story to story until, in the final one-third of the book, the stories come together in surprising ways.
Throughout it all, Chaon's primary concern is the concept of human identity. Chaon's characters grapple with what it means to change names, escape from families and towns, and alter appearances. We are left wondering if a person has a fixed identity (a true essence) or if identity is merely relative, shifting according to circumstances and desires. The answer to this question suggested by Chaon is unsettling and thought-provoking. Chaon's workmanlike prose maintains a quick pace, making for a real page-turner. Await Your Reply combines a high entertainment value with literary depth.