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Dan Chaon is the acclaimed author of Fitting Ends and Among the Missing, a finalist for the National Book Award, which was also listed as one of the ten best books of the year by the American Library Association, Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, and Entertainment Weekly, as well as being cited as a New York Times Notable Book. Chaon's fiction has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, and won both Pushcart and O. Henry awards. Chaon teaches at Oberlin College and lives in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, with his wife and two sons. From the Hardcover edition.
Chaon follows his celebrated story collection with a first novel about identity. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Three lives viewed through a kaleidoscope of memories and secret pain assume a kind of mythical dimension in Chaon's piercingly poignant tale of fate, chance and search for redemption. As he demonstrated in his short story collection Among the Missing, Chaon has a sensitive radar for the daily routines of people striving to escape the margins of poverty and establish meaningful lives. Here, a woman's unsuccessful effort to rise above the pain of giving away an illegitimate baby, and to fight against mental illness and offer love to a second child, blights all their lives. Living with his harsh and bitter mother, Norma, and his kindly grandfather in Little Bow, S.Dak., young Jonah Doyle is permanently scarred after the family's Doberman attacks and maims him. The resulting livid ridges on his face are the outward manifestations of a deeper wound that will always haunt him. After his mother's suicide, Jonah sets out to find the older brother he has never met, and in the process, brings them both to the verge of tragedy. Jonah's older sibling is Troy Timmens, a well-meaning bartender and sometime drug dealer in St. Bonaventure, Nebr., who is devoted to his six-year-old son, Loomis. The boy will play a pivotal part in Jonah's quixotic attempts to win Troy's love. Chaon structures his plot in alternating flashbacks, and the fragmentary time structure forces the reader to puzzle out the relationships and contributes to rising dramatic tension. Chaon's clarity of observation, expressed in restrained, nuanced prose, coupled with his compassion for his flawed characters, creates a heart-wrenching story of people searching for connection. (June) Forecast: Readers of Kent Haruf will find similarities here, in the settings in small towns on the Great Plains and in the dignified portrayal of people leading secret, stoic lives. Eight-city author tour. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Adult/High School-This first novel focuses on the disparate lives of a fragmented family as they struggle with the harsh realities of poverty, depression, and dysfunction. The story opens with Jonah, a troubled, self-involved boy in a small South Dakota town. Raised by a depressed and suicidal mother who never wanted him, he survives an attack from the family's Doberman only to be severely scarred on his face and hands. Jonah develops into a lonely and isolated man who tries to make connections with anyone willing to befriend him, only to push others away by eventually demanding more than they want to give. Driven by his need for acceptance, Jonah seeks out an older half brother who was given up for adoption at birth. Troy, a bartender and occasional marijuana dealer, has difficulties of his own: shortly after the disappearance of his wife, he is arrested and placed on probation and house arrest for drug dealing. He struggles to regain custody of his son, Loomis, a strangely intelligent and watchful boy, from his uncooperative mother-in-law and has little time for the hopeful Jonah. In what he intends as a gesture of brotherly friendship, Jonah kidnaps Loomis, meaning to take the boy to Troy. This desperate act ultimately leads to the dramatic yet real conclusion. A series of tightly interwoven flashbacks; deft handling of structure; and simple, precise language transform these characters' lives into a story that is highly readable, thought-provoking, and profoundly moving.-Matthew L. Moffett, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
"You Remind Me of Me is one of the strangest, most beautiful, most compelling books I've read in a long time. Unnerving and real, intricately plotted, wonderfully written, it's a Chinese box of a novel, full of hidden pleasures and surprises." --ELIZABETH MCCRACKEN, author of The Giant's House and Niagara Falls All Over Again "[A] piercingly poignant tale of fate, chance, and search for redemption." --Publishers Weekly (starred review) "One of Dan Chaon's many gifts is his ability to probe deeply and delicately into sorrow. This gift serves him beautifully in You Remind Me of Me, a novel about adoption, about the quiet sadness that lies at the bottom of all his characters' troubles." --JANE HAMILTON, author of A Map of the World "Dan Chaon's beautiful, effortless prose commands the reader from sentence one, steering us from prickling unease to wrenching pathos, tunneling inside his characters' minds and worlds with such authority that everything else seems to disappear. It's almost frightening to be in the hands of so gifted a writer." --JENNIFER EGAN, author of Look at Me and The Invisible Circus "Beautiful, painful, and sure footed, You Remind Me of Me tracks the delicate connections between a handful of lost and poignant lives, in the process giving them the radiance of a stained-glass window. What a writer. Dan Chaon is going to have a breathtaking literary career." --PETER STRAUB, author of lost boy lost girl "Dan Chaon's novel, You Remind Me of Me, is nothing short of brilliant. The novel is haunting me, and I can't stop thinking about it--both as a reader and as a deeply admiring writer. I wish I had a better adjective than superb." --CAROLINE LEAVITT, author of Girls in Trouble From the Hardcover edition.