Stay Awake

Stay Awake

Stories

Book - 2012
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In these haunting, suspenseful stories, lost, fragile, searching characters wander between ordinary life and a psychological shadowland. They have experienced intense love or loss, grief or loneliness, displacement or disconnection--and find themselves in unexpected, dire, and sometimes unfathomable situations. A father's life is upended by his son's night terrors--and disturbing memories of the first wife and child he abandoned; a foster child receives a call from the past and begins to remember his birth mother, whose actions were unthinkable; a divorced woman experiences her own dark version of "empty-nest syndrome"; a young widower is unnerved by the sudden, inexplicable appearances of messages and notes--on dollar bills, inside a magazine, stapled to the side of a tree; and a college dropout begins to suspect that there's something off, something sinister, in his late parents' house. Dan Chaon's stories feature scattered families, unfulfilled dreamers, anxious souls. They exist in a twilight realm--in a place by the window late at night when the streets are empty and the world appears to be quiet. But you are up, unable to sleep. So you stay awake"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, [2012]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780345530370
0345530373
Branch Call Number: FICTION Chaon, Dan
Characteristics: 254 p. ; 22 cm

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LucasHill
Mar 20, 2018

The father with a past he wants to forget;
The teen boy who is trying to face up to an adult tragedy;
The mother who is trying to cope with her deformed child, while also dealing with the traumatic accident her husband has recently been in;
An empty nest mother who wonders if she should begin a sexual relationship with her ex-husband, the victim of a brain injury who is now very unlike his former self;
A young man, living with his recently widowed foster mother, speaks to his half sister about their difficult childhoods (a story that might be a predecessor to Chaon's most recent novel, Ill Will);
A widowed man believes his dead wife might be trying to communicate with him;
A man kidnaps his girlfriend's son to rescue him from her drug use;
Life falling apart after the death of a young man's parents;
Two brothers, one trying to escape his train wrecked life, reunite to go home;
A man thinks back to his mother's death as he is waiting for his injured girlfriend;
A desperately unhealthy lawyer delves into Portland's underworld while going on a bender;
Sisters look back at the one act of their father that changed all their lives

Bad parenting, lives in tatters, crime, desperation and the murky past: all hallmarks of Dan Chaon's extraordinarily dark stories. I am more a fan than ever.

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llwboston
Mar 23, 2013

I gave up after the fourth story. Although there are some chilling plot elements, I found the protagonists of each story to be vague and their general sense of alienation became monotonous.

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