Dan Chaon Sends His Reply

Hi, Bookies:

We’ve heard back from Await Your Reply author Dan Chaon with answers to your questions. Look for his responses throughout in bold-faced type.

From discussion leader Ashley Tate:


Do you have an idea in your head about what happens to Lucy after her story ends?

Yes. I have a general idea that she will end up in Rome (she has that plane ticket and the money.) Her story may be something I return to someday, but I’ve never been to Rome so I would need to do some research.


How did you keep all the characters straight as you were writing?

I kept notecards with data about their backgrounds and so forth, but it did change a lot as the novel progressed and I had to keep revising aspects (like how old Miles and Hayden are, for example).


What I’d like to know is where was the real Jay? And if the fake Jay killed him, how come the real Jay’s body was never found?

Posted by: Connie| Saturday, July 24, 2010 at 07:58 AM

Reread pages 316-317. The answers are there.


My questions are as follows: 1. Is Miles actually Hayden’s twin? Yes. 2. Is Hayden really behind the sabotage to those major companies? Probably at least some of them. 3. Did you have in mind what eventually happened to Miles, if he was not in fact Hayden himself?  Miles goes back to Cleveland and resumes working for Mrs. Matalov.  4. What was the timeline? Mike Hayden, then Jay, then George Orson? Right. And the stuff with Miles in Inuvik happens during the summer before Hayden/George Orson starts working at Lucy’s school. 5. Was Dylan posing as the Russians we encounter, or were they separate entities? Two separate entities. Dylan is the one of the hackers that Jay is involved with in Ch. 19. Did Dylan simply let Jay and Ryan go? Dylan’s friends panicked when Dylan’s torture scenario went overboard, and when they didn’t find the “Jay” they were looking for (i.e., they found George Orson posing as Jay, which confused them). Did Dylan pose as a Russian and track him down as George later?  No, the Russians were real Russians (or Latvians, rather).

Posted by: Kristi S| Saturday, July 24, 2010 at 09:32 AM


My questions for the author echo what I mentioned in another post: How was the decision made to tell the reader up front (via the synopsis on the back of the book) that these characters’ lives would be connected somehow? Did you want the story to read like a mystery where we, the readers, would try to put all the pieces together and figure out the connection before it was revealed? How do you think the story would have been different had we NOT known up front that the storylines would connect? And finally, who made the decision to tell the readers about the connections up front? Do you, the author, write the synopsis for the back of the book or does someone else do that? Did you always know you wanted the readers to be aware of the characters’ lives being connected ahead of time? Thanks!

Posted by: Kelly| Saturday, July 24, 2010 at 04:17 PM

The jacket copy was written by the publicity and marketing department at Random House. It was very tricky deciding what to summarize and what not to. I think the decision to tell the reader up front was a good one, because I think it does add to the suspense. Perhaps the long, long tease of the plot is less frustrating knowing that they’ll eventually come together. At least that’s the hope.


I loved this book. Mr. Chaon kept me on my toes and involved. Most of the questions I want answered have been asked. I really want to know if Miles and Hayden were twins or the same person. And I really like to know what happened to all the characters after the book ends.

Posted by: Holly| Saturday, July 24, 2010 at 06:31 PM

They are two separate people. There are some red herrings that suggest otherwise, though, and you’re not alone in thinking that they might be the same person. I get that question from readers a lot.


I would like to know what happened to Jay. Hayden mentions that he sent him out with an identity and one of the places was Cote d’Ivoire. When Lucy gets her hair done, the hotel is Hotel Ivoire. I wonder if Hayden, the con artist, was conned by (and eventually done in by) the real Jay. I would like to ask Dan Chaon if my theory about the real Jay is correct.

Posted by: Kara| Saturday, July 24, 2010 at 06:57 PM

The real Jay is dead. (See pp. 316-317.) Hayden is done in by his business partners from Rezeneke (Latvia) and Ivory Coast.


My only question is what happens to Lucy? Ryan we know will be okay. He knows how to acquire the rest of “his” money, he’s cleaned it up, etc. Lucy was so young, and she has no clue how to take care of herself. I’d love to know what her outcome was.

Posted by: Kristi| Sunday, July 25, 2010 at 09:03 AM

See above. I think Lucy has more spine and self-preservation instinct than you give her credit for. To my mind, she may end up being the most dangerous con man of all of them, eventually.

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