Await Your Reply - Dan Chaon Await Your Reply examines the question of identity in old and new ways. Throughout the book there's a philosophical undercurrent dealing with that ancient question of what constitutes a "self." The plot ties into that question using the more recent issue of identity theft, which allows people to erase their life histories and "be" an entirely different person. The exploration of these themes was, for me, the most appealing thing about the book. The switches and stumbles of the characters made me think deep thoughts. Who are you, really, if you strip away all identifying markers? Are you still the same person if you abandon all the touchstones of your selfhood? Would I want to walk away from my entire life? Just ditch everyone and everything, like these characters do? (The answer is NO. I gotta be me, for better or worse.)The story and its resolution (or lack of one) was a bit of a let-down. The writing is excellent. The characters are original and well defined. But as I began reading, I felt like I'd been duped. It's supposed to be a novel. In reality, it's three fragmented novellas that are supposed to converge and never quite do so in any satisfying way. You get alternating chapters of the three stories, which appear to be unrelated for most of the book. The connection is revealed (sort of) by the end. But it seemed to me that Chaon had a superb idea for an elaborate plot and couldn't quite find a way to bring it to a grand conclusion. All my cluck-clucking aside, I do recommend reading the book. It's interesting and thought provoking, and at times humorous. I loved the irony of identity thieves having their stolen identities stolen from them. My big crack-up moment was when Ryan says: "What do you mean, 'stolen' your identity? Which one?"