“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
—Elizabeth McCracken, author of The
Giants House and Niagara Falls
All Over Again
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
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
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.”
Chaon's meticulous and insightful novel "You Remind Me of Me"
is such an important achievement….it is fundamentally a tale of
identity sought, borrowed, rejected and then reborn in the minds of its
characters. But Chaon does not let the reader off with simple
conclusions. Rather, he reminds us constantly how much in fluctuation
life's choices really are, and how much we contribute to our own views
of what we have become. The novel is also a riddle about connections,
and it begins in four apparently disparate directions that eventually
come together with an unsettling and heartrending unity.”
--David Hellman is a librarian at
San Francisco State University and past chairman of the American Library
Association's Notable Books Council
"One of the best
short story writers around . . . Dan Chaon’s stories are funny,
heartbreaking, beautifully written, and intelligently conceived."
Bestselling author of Birds of America
"An important collection of stories. A genuinely literary
National Book Award-winning author
"With a story like [‘Big Me’] from the marvelous writer Dan
Chaon, I am confronted not only with an unfathomable mystery such as
that of the endurance of a single human identity over time, but also
with new proof of the enduring value of telling tales in the ongoing
struggle to understand those mysteries."
Pulitzer Prize-winning author
stories are filled with a wicked innocence, a wonderful way of seeing what
is new in the way we live the lives we've grown used to. He makes us feel
the fearfulness available--given the right light, the wrong music--from
the ordinary. He honors his readers and his characters with direct
language, compelling moments, and a chance to see clearly what is coming
"Dan Chaon writes
with superlative craft and compassion about people who step out of their
ordinary lives and into mysteries. These are wonderful stories: tough,
spooky and full of heart."
--Jean Thompson, author of National Book Award Nominee Who Do You Love?
"With searing tenderness and astonishing grace, Dan Chaon
conjures the magical worlds where a young widow may glimpse the divine in an inflatable doll or a flamboyant macaw may repeat
a rapist's mocking words. These are stories with dark edges, peopled by characters who face the limits of rage and despair.
But in the midst of turmoil, Dan Chaon holds fast to his own sense of the whimsical and the absurd. He sees his people with delight;
he offers us visions of hope and awe through his own fearless compassion."
---Melanie Rae Thon
"In AMONG THE MISSING, Dan Chaon movingly parses the omnipresence of absence in our lives. Among the missing in these stories are: a brother-in-law imprisoned for serial rape; the children of a lonely sperm donor; a family mysteriously drowned in a car; a runaway mother; a lost son; a dead husband; a stillborn daughter; and the million imaginary inhabitants of Beck, Nebraska. And, most importantly, the many missing persons that comprise a self, those versions of ourselves that we abandon over the years and that "end up nearly forgotten, mumbling and gasping for air in some tenement room of our consciousness." Among the found is Dan Chaon, a brilliant and important new voice in American fiction. We will all be reading his mysterious and beautiful stories sooner or later. I suggest sooner."
(author of BLACK MAPS)
"Within these pages Chaon's lonely protagonists struggle to invent or erase themselves. Their histories are disordered, their futures uncertain. But for the reader the pleasures involved are indelible. These are memorable, mighty stories told by a master. An asbolutely stupendous collection! I recommend it with all my heart."
Karen Joy Fowler,
author of Sarah Canary, The Sweetheart Season and Black Glass
THE MISSING is moving, powerful, clear-eyed and compassionate. Dan Chaon can
compress grief, rage, passion and forgiveness into a page, a paragraph, a sentence--the palm of a hand.
This is a terrific book."
Leigh Allison Wilson,
author of Wind and From the Bottom Up
THE MISSING is a startling glimpse into Dan Chaon's strange fictional world. In tight clean prose he renders story after story brimming with equal parts menace and grace. His stories haunt and amaze
lingering like great fiction should."
author of If I Don't Six and What Salmon Know
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.
…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.”
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.
Weekly (STARRED REVIEW)
storywriter Chaon (AMONG THE MISSING,2001,etc) affirms his matchless
skill in crafting the small sketch...The initial handful of chapters
here, in fact, read like a fresh collection of stories, distinguished as
usual by the shy, cutting honesty of Chaon's prose...his final vignette
leaves the reader astonished once again...[a] powerful, promising
follow a ravishing short story collection, AMONG THE MISSING (2001),
with a grimly compelling first novel...Chaon's finely crafted novel is
cogent and susupenseful."
this impressive intergenerational saga from onetime National Book Award
finalist Dan Chaon, the modern American family is barely family at all:
Its members are variously orphaned, abandoned or absentee….Chaon's
restless narrative zooms back and forth from the 1960s to the 1970s to
the 1990s, constantly updating, revisiting and revealing. Each turn of
"You Remind Me of Me" adds another layer of flesh — and
mystery — to Jonah, Troy and their forlorn mother, three archetypal
Americans who don't know each other from Adam but are bound together
--Los Angeles Times
meticulous pacing, and the controlled nuance with which he (an adoptee
who has written about his own awkward meeting with his natural father)
handles Jonah’s and Troy’s interaction, make this a quietly
--Time Out New York
deftly reveals the quiet suffering of ordinary people in a way that can
be uncomfortably realistic but is always compelling”.
remarkable first novel begins with snapshots that recall his talent for
short stories (his 2001 collection, Among the missing, was a
National Book Award finalist)”.
remind Me of Me is not technically horror or suspense, but it does
generate plenty of tension, in its very sensitivity to tha perils and
misadventures of domestic life. … Chaon plays with the reader’s
expectations in a way that is accomplished and full of pleasure for
lovers of good suspense fiction, and You remind Me of Me, along
with its literary merits, is a very good scary novel. … You remind
Me of Me, expertly written and crafted, is an admirable first novel
and one of this year’s most involving and satisfying fictions”.
--The Plain Dealer
“You remind Me of Me is the first novel by an author already
established for mournful, eloquent short stories with a tone reminiscent
of Russell Banks’s. Mr. Chaon’s stories heve been about emotional
ellipses in his characters’ lonely lives”.
--New York Times
… vivid, unadorned prose, which manages at once to be precise and
dreamlike. …the book succeeds because it makes us feel its
characters’ pain and inhabit a world in which desperate measures often
seem like the only ones avaliable”.
Remind Me of Me by Dan Chaon (Ballantine, $24.95), another debut novel,
is a kaleidoscope of memories, painful revelations and tragic legacies
that converge to become a piercing and poignant tale….At first these
chapters read like a series of short stories, but then the common
threads begin to emerge, and the author seamlessly weaves a tale of
family relations and fate. This first novel by National Book Award
finalist Dan Chaon is sometimes painful but always provocative in its
steadfast portrayal of people pushed beyond their limits."
PW Daily--Kristin Kloberdanz, a
journalist with Time, offers these recommendations in a recent article
in the Chicago Tribune
his masterly first novel, Chaon tells an absorbing tale of fate and the
struggle for recovery and human connection.
Readers who prefer expertly crafted plotting and strong characterization will be drawn to this novel.
Highly recommended for public library system with an emphasis on
literary fiction and for anyone interested in promising first
--Library Journal (STARRED
masterful effort from 2001, Among
the Missing (a National Book
Award finalist,) was, as it turns out, merely the precursor to something
even better: specific case in point, his new novel, You
Remind Me of Me. ….Chaon's
great gift — the ability to submerge readers into the heart and soul
of a character with a rarified economy of words — is happily playing
as the marqueed forefront in this superb new book. ….Chaon
fans will find great satisfaction in this, his return to an examination
of the magnificently complicated existences of just plain folk."
list of Media Appearances for YOU REMIND ME OF ME
York Times 6/27-Public Lives essay
Herald Tribune-6/15; ran Janet Maslin’s NYTimes review
York Times Daily-4/27
York Times Book Review-date t/k
Post Media Mix-calendar 5/23
Weekly-June 4 issue; on sale 5/28
& Writers May/June issue
Post Book World-May 16; review by Tom Perotta
Post Book World Summer reading Round-Up—5/2
Out NY Summer Books issue—5/6
jose Mercury News-Hot Reads-5/30
Journal Constitution-Summer Reading Round-up 5/23
News & Free Press mention- May 16
Journal Sentinel-date t/k
Morning News-date t/k
Daily Herald-date t/k
Orleans Times Picayne-to run either 5/30 or 6/6
Eagle-review & event listing
Science Monitor-lead review—6/8
Francisco Chronicle Summer Reading Round-Up –5/30
Paul Pioneer Press-Bookstore Recommends-5/30
Times – review to run 6/18
(for Among the Missing)
In the 12 quietly accomplished stories of his second collection, Chaon
explores the complicated geography of human relationships, from the
unintentional failures and minute betrayals of daily existence to the
numbing grief caused by abandonment, disappearance or death. Specific
and disquieting absences an uncle who killed himself, a mother who
vanished, a friend who was kidnapped haunt the protagonists, and a
series of metaphoric and literal stand-ins take the place of what's
missing. In "Safety Man," a dummy intended for crime
deterrence propped in the passenger seat, it looks like a male companion
becomes a kind of surrogate husband for a young widow, and for her
daughters, an inflatable father; in "I Demand to Know Where You're
Taking Me," a woman caring for her incarcerated brother-in-law's
macaw comes to loathe the bird, its ugly talk transforming it into a
symbol of everything wrong and incomprehensible about him. By and large,
Chaon's characters are citizens of the emotional hinterlands, lonely
even when surrounded: "How did people go about falling in love,
getting married, having families, living their lives?" Even those
who think they know the answers recognize their powerlessness, such as
the father who, looking into his son's eyes, thinks, "I am aware
that hatred is a definite possibility at the end of the long tunnel of
parenthood, and I suspect that there is little one can do about
it." And yet these stories are neither morbid nor even particularly
melancholic. Singularly dedicated to an examination of all the
profundity and strangeness of the quotidian, they are, in their best
moments, unsettling, moving, even beautiful. (July 3)Forecast: A jacket
blurb by Lorrie Moore and a five-city author tour may help sell this
understated collection, which will be respectfully reviewed but may be
overlooked on bookstore shelves.
2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
People go missing both literally and figuratively in Chaon's beautiful
and insightful stories, most of which are set in small, muffled Midwest
towns. In "Passengers, Remain Calm," 22-year-old Hollis,
reflective and immensely kind, tries hard to let F. D., his 8-year-old
nephew, know that he loves him without making F. D.'s father, who has
inexplicably disappeared, look bad. Another expressive narrator is
haunted by a long-held secret associated with the vanishing of his
boyhood friend. As each of Chaon's profoundly thoughtful characters
discovers, missing selves are just as distressing as missing people. A
young father is astonished at how quickly he becomes a caricature dad,
and he mourns the loss of his "real" self. In a curious
reversal, the lonely boy in "Big Me" becomes obsessed with a
boozy neighbor who, he fears, embodies his future. Riveting and
unpredictable, each pristine tale of absence looms like the proverbial
tip of the iceberg as Chaon succeeds brilliantly in suggesting the
immensity and mystery floating silently below the surface of everyday
life, shadowy compressions of all the complicated and contradictory
thoughts and feelings that humans conceal from each other out of fear
and love. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Short stories don't usually get this much hype a two-page spread in the
catalog, no less but Chaon has done well with his works: they have
appeared in the "Distinguished Stories" section of The
Pushcart Prize six times and in Best American Short Stories three times.
These pieces focus on people just trying to get by in America today.
2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Best of 2001
Dan Chaon opens his new collection of stories with an epigraph from
Raymond Carver: "Whatever this was all about, it was not a vain
attempt--journey." This is pretty opaque stuff from Carver, a
writer not much given to mystification. But it strikes just the right
note for Chaon's assembly of characters, a group vaguely unsettled by
life, trying to make the best of it. First and foremost, this is a book
beset by moms. You get the feeling that the characters in Among the
Missing never really had a chance to figure out the world, with
these cryptic, uncommunicative women to care for them. In the title
story, for example, a car is discovered at the bottom of a local lake,
with an entire family drowned inside. The college-age narrator, however,
is preoccupied by the more mundane puzzle of his parents' relationship.
"Somehow," he recounts, "they'd stayed married for twenty
years, and then, abruptly, somehow they'd decided to give up. It didn't
quite make sense, and I looked at them, for a minute aware of the other
mystery in my life. 'Do you want some soup?' my mother asked, as if I
were a customer."
about as much as you'll ever get out of one of Chaon's mothers: soup.
When not fielding their aging parents' passivity, these characters seem
to spend a lot of time grappling with ghosts. The "missing" of
the title story are, literally, gone. In "Safety Man," a widow
comes to rely on one of those inflatable dolls meant to intimidate
intruders. In "Prosthesis," a young wife and mother falls for
a stranger with a missing arm; meanwhile, she watches her son grow up
and away from her, "disappearing into his own thoughts and
feelings." In the end, Chaon is the rare writer who deserves
comparison to Carver: both write an affectless prose that takes on a
surprisingly emotional life of its own. --Claire Dederer
From Publishers Weekly
Anyone who has ever toyed with the idea of staying in school an extra
year in order to delay the sobering responsibilities of adulthood will
identify with the people in Chaon's first collection. Familial burdens,
sexual confusion and unchallenging jobs are just a few of the
impediments to the happiness of these 20-something characters, leaving
them disillusioned and powerless to move on. It is especially poignant
in ``Rapid Transit,'' when the transition from fair-haired collegian to
entry-level lackey stirs up some scary emotions. In ``Fraternity,'' a
party-boy rejects reality even as ``the music faded, the lights came
up.'' Many seek constancy from family members, only to find that they
too are changing beyond their control. One man looks to his ailing
grandmother for some order, while another hunts down his biological
mother to provide ``whatever's missing'' in his life. Mired in the
present, the characters often glorify the past: ``Scott had felt ashamed
to have such fond memories, and so little desire to start over.'' The
stories are deftly written and brilliantly structured, with titillating
beginnings and somewhat cryptic endings. The prospect for this
generation is not grim, Chaon seems to say; it's just uncertain.
Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
News reports from small towns on the Nebraska prairie tend to dwell on
the greying of a way of life, but Chaon's first collection of short
stories is more concerned with the life still taking place that passes
underneath the radar of public regard. Thus, "Transformations"
tells of the homecoming of a newly uncloseted homosexual from the point
of view of his younger brother; "Dread" is the story of a
young man living with his brother and sister-in-law in Chicago who
spills the beans about his brother's affair. Most of the stories deal
simply with simple themes (the exception being "My Sister's
Honeymoon: A Videotape," a more experimental piece about a brother
reflecting on the changes brought about by his sister's marriage that is
organized by the time tag of a video camera). It is in the telling, the
subtle shifts of perspective, and the transformation of character in a
short space that distinguish Chaon as a writer to watch. Though most of
his stories seem suspended rather than concluded (an unfortunate
trademark of university writing programs, of which Chaon is a product),
this is a very respectable first effort; it's unfortunate that the high
hardcover price might keep this work out of smaller libraries. For
collections of literary fiction.
Rights: Contact Ballantine