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Among the Missing
Synopses & Reviews
In this haunting, bracing new collection, Dan Chaon shares stories of men, women, and children who live far outside the American Dream, while wondering which decision, which path, or which accident brought them to this place. Chaon imagines today's family instinctively trying to stay together, only to find itself lost in the throes of a chaotic, modern world.
In "Safety Man," a young widow and her children become increasingly attached to an inflatable protector-doll, as the world outside seems to grow ever more threatening; "Big Me" follows a lonely, imaginative twelve-year-old boy who believes an older (slightly creepier) version of himself has moved in next door; In "I Demand to Know Where You're Taking Me," a man blinded by love for his imprisoned brother ignores the warnings of his distant wife and a talking parrot who both witness things he's never seen; and "Among the Missing" explores how the death of a family, found buckled in their car at the bottom of a lake, casts a shadow on a small town and intrudes upon the narrator's relationship with his aging mother.
A writer of enormous talent and emotional depth, Dan Chaon mines the psychological landscape of his characters to dazzling effect. Each story radiates with sharp humor, mystery, wonder, and startling compassion. Among the Missing lingers in the mind through its subtle grace and power of language.
"Chaon's contemporary stories intimately reveal modern life and the secrets people keep." Library Journal
"Dan Chaon knows things. As evidenced by his second short-story collection, Among the Missing, he?s one of those writers who possess an uncanny and seemingly otherworldly understanding of the human condition and the world of muted emotions....These 12 stories...further establish Chaon as a remarkable chronicler of a very American kind of sadness, much in the tradition of Richard Yates, Raymond Carver, and Denis Johnson...." San Francisco Chronicle
"One of the best short story writers around....Dan Chaon's stories are funny, heartbreaking, beautifully written, and intelligently conceived." Lorrie Moore, author of Birds of America
"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." Michael Chabon, author of Wonder Boys
"The best of Dan Chaon?s mesmerizing collection Among the Missing — stories like 'Safety Man' and 'Big Me' — transform the struggles of his characters? seemingly mundane lives into acts of mystery and faith; even the most ordinary moments veer toward wonder." O Magazine
"This unnerving collection of stories concerns mothers who hit the road, fathers who fly the coop, a husband who keels over, a boy who steps behind a bush and is never seen again. The characters seem not to know what they are doing, but the author does." New York Times, Notable Books 2001
In this haunting, bracing new collection, Chaon shares stories of down-and-out people who live outside the American Dream, while wondering which decision, path, or accident brought them to this place.
About the Author
Dan Chaon is the acclaimed author of Fitting Ends and Other Stories. He was anthologized in Best American Short Stories 1996 and The Pushcart Prize 2000. He has been published in such magazines as Story, Ploughshares, and Triquarterly, and has received many prizes and honors including a grant from the Ohio Arts Council. He lives in Ohio with his wife and children. He is currently at work on his first novel.
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