“Eerily beautiful . . . [Chaon] is the modern day John Cheever.”—Boston Sunday Globe
“Powerful and disturbing . . . The shocks in this collection are many.”—The Washington Post
These haunting, suspenseful stories by acclaimed author Dan Chaon feature scattered families, unfulfilled dreamers, anxious souls—lost, fragile, searching characters who wander between ordinary life and a psychological shadowland. They have experienced intense love or loss, grief or loneliness, displacement or disconnection—and 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 it is not, and neither are you. And since you cannot sleep, you stay awake.
“Chaon is able to create fully realized characters in mere pages. . . . This collection is further proof that Chaon is one of the best fiction writers working right now.”—Omaha World-Herald
“There are not many fiction writers who can do what Dan Chaon can do. . . . [He is] a literary force.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Intense and suspenseful . . . a highly recommended work, not to be missed.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“Mesmerizing . . . gripping, masterful fiction.”—The Plain Dealer
“Superbly disquieting.”—The New York Times Book Review
Don’t miss the exclusive conversation between Dan Chaon and Emma Straub at the back of the book.
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With this arresting collection, Chaon again demonstrates his mastery of the short story. In the hypnotic "The Bees," a young boy screams in his sleep for no reason; he's suffered no known distress. He doesn't even seem to be having nightmares. The boy's father, greatly disturbed, soon finds his own dark past threatening to overwhelm his present. In the title story, Zach and Amber's baby girl is born with an incompletely formed conjoined twin. When Zach narrowly survives death before a highly risky operation to separate the twins, this already fragile family is strained to the breaking point. An electrician named Critter, living with his young daughter in Toledo, Ohio, after the death of his wife, keeps found notes despite their troubling nature, in "To Psychic Underworld:." Chaon's protagonists are plagued by common traumas and struggle to rectify their decisions with the external forces of fate. More often than not, characters are stuck in an eddy that seems inescapable, yet which is also a moment's isolation from the surrounding flow. Chaon (Await Your Reply) brings readers fantastically close, slowly drawing them into the anxiety or loneliness or remorse of his characters, and building great anticipation for the twists to come.