Stay Awake

Stay Awake


Book - 2012
Average Rating:
Rate this:
The Washington Post * San Francisco Chronicle
Before the critically acclaimed novels Await Your Reply and You Remind Me of Me, Dan Chaon made a name for himself as a renowned writer of dazzling short stories. Now, in Stay Awake, Chaon returns to that form for the first time since his masterly Among the Missing, a finalist for the National Book Award.
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. Theynbsp;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.
Praise for Stay Awake
"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
"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 Journa l (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.
Publisher: New York :, Ballantine Books,, [2012]
Edition: Trade paperback edition.
ISBN: 9780345530387
Branch Call Number: SS CHAO
Characteristics: 281 pages ; 21 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
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.

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.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at APL

To Top