Thursday, June 14, 2012

TO-READ I Stay Awake

Stay Awake, and Chaon’s fiction in general, is the first so-called “page turner” I’ve burned through that convinced me to slow down and doubt if I’d misplaced a clause or pronoun, so much like thinking are its sentences. In that sense, these are stories you can’t accident outside of, via idleness or exhaustion; stories whose characters and intimations of memory and portent, as brought to life by place (most notably the Midwest), serve, themselves, as stories, directing by riveting you in and out of their own sense of direction like an appealingly tumultuous ride at the state fair, but powered by Chaon’s syntactical inclinations toward the immediacy and accuracy of experience, in terms of how a memory is made and leaves its trace. “In my mind something almost remembered itself,” Robbie thinks to himself, in the story “I Wake Up.” Chaon’s stories seem to buzz off this kind of conversation, which asks what is sincerely subjective and what taking place before our eyes. As eerily familiar as good fiction writing gets.

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