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review 2017-05-22 15:41
Await Your Reply, by Dan Chaon
Await Your Reply - Dan Chaon

Await Your Reply is ultimately a tragic story featuring characters who are lost or mentally ill and either want a new start or can't let go of the past. However, I found it hard to sympathize with the three characters whose perspectives the novel shifts between in alternating chapters. As a result I rushed through my reading mostly to finish the book and see how these seemingly unconnected characters were, in fact, connected. It's a story of identity, how it is mutable but perhaps can become its own trap, even when that identity is traded in for a new one.

 

I'm surprised I purchased this book since it features one of my greatest squicks (as we say in fandom): a teacher-student romantic relationship. The recently graduated student, Lucy, is one of the characters whose point of view is narrated. Though she's lost her parents, at first it seems this is not a great loss to her. She also disparages her older, less ambitious sister. This made Lucy and her rash decision to run off with her AP History teacher unsympathetic for me. She's bright academically, but stupid and naive when it comes to everything else. She almost immediately begins to feel uneasy about the promises her older boyfriend made once they arrive at their temporary destination, but she sticks around.

 

Similarly, Ryan, a college student, leaves school and his family behind once he learns the truth about his parentage. He hadn't been doing well in school and wasted the money meant for tuition. He takes off with a guy he's just met and becomes involved in illegal money-moving and identity fraud schemes, though he barely understands what he's doing and why. He doesn't seem that troubled knowing that his family is looking for him. So, he's another character I found I couldn't care about.

 

The third character, Miles, I found the most sympathetic. He's been on the trail of his schizophrenic twin brother, Hayden, ever since the latter disappeared years before. Miles disrupts his own life (or barely develops one) to chase his twin and feeds on occasional communications from him. He gives Hayden the benefit of the doubt, despite the warnings of others and evidence to the contrary. Is he big-hearted or a fool?

 

I won't spoil how the three characters' stories connect, but despite some surprises, the mystery of that connection wasn't enough for me to overcome my issues with the characters.

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review 2017-05-09 23:09
Tour de force
Ill Will - Dan Chaon

What a ride! Unsettling. Alarming. Irresistible. Riveting. Alluring. Brilliantly structured, and quite risky, but entirely accomplished.

 

Yes, it's a thriller, but so much more. And yes, we may have seen characters like this before, but not, in my experience, written with such audacity.

 

Highly recommended.

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review 2017-03-30 00:00
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Vladimir Nabokov,Dan Chaon,Robert Louis Stevenson The title says it all: Strange case. Hulk seems to be based off of this, but I enjoyed both. I think we're due for another adaptation of this story.
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review 2017-03-16 16:47
My Review of Ill Will
Ill Will - Dan Chaon

Ill Will by Dan Chaon is a story that revolves around a family tragedy. That's all I could ascertain from this story. I couldn't get into the whole book being back-story. There was a lot of sexual situations. Way too many for my taste. The story was, for me, hard to follow most of the time. I had to read quite a bit of the chapter to find out whose point of view I was reading. The ending didn't reveal any true insight into the story, or have a real conclusion. I received a copy of this book through Netgalley, and all opinions are my own.

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review 2017-03-10 10:09
Ill Will
Ill Will - Dan Chaon

By: Dan Chaon

ISBN: 9780345476043

Publisher:  Random House  

Publication Date: 3/7/2017 

Format: Other 

My Rating: 4 Stars 

 

Psychologically complex Dan Chaon’s ILL WILL is a dark, haunting, and twisty suspense thriller full of madness, tragedy, murder, grief, and despair. Cancer, drugs, addictions, and satanic evil.

"We meet our destiny on the road we take to avoid it." —Jean De La Fontaine.

Dustin Tillman is a suburban Cleveland psychiatrist. Father of two teenage boys, Aaron and Dennis. His wife, Jill dying of cancer, and one of his patients is now recruiting him to help investigate the drownings of young men that seem to match a pattern. He is struggling with his own past. He is the survivor.

In 1983, when he was thirteen years old, his mother, father, aunt, and uncle were murdered. Dustin accused his adopted older brother, Rusty (attracted to Satanism) of the crime. Rusty was incarcerated.

What really happened with the violent murder during a summer holiday in 1983? Two unsolved crimes. Past and Present.

 



"In the end it is the mystery that lasts and not the explanation."—Sacheverell Sitwell, For Want of the Golden City.

Now he has been exonerated and released. Thirty some years after Dustin’s testimony put him away for murdering their parents, aunt, and uncle. Now DNA evidence clears him of the crime.

From dark family secrets and deceit, this is one creepy grisly disturbing book. Unnerving, moody and atmospheric. Emotionally wrenching and complex.

Plot-driven, the author uses impressive skill and control, as he crosses multiple narratives with different perspectives— for a mind-bending saga which will leave your head spinning. An exploration of memories, delusion, and self-deception.

". . . Every memory he thinks of now is discolored and ugly. The past suddenly has vanished from underneath him, distorted, memories turned into something he doesn't recognize, something malevolent."

The author keeps the evil, despair, terror and suspense high. Exploring humanity’s darker side. If you are looking for a relaxing read, move on. However, you if like crossing over to the darker side, and enjoy well-written complex literary/pulp fiction thrillers, you may enjoy the scary intense ride.

A special thank you to Random House, LibraryThing Early Reviewers, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/02/08/Ill-Will
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