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Friday, October 15, 2010

You Remind Me of Me by Dan Chaon

By the author of Await Your Reply. This is his first book and a very good one, if a bit long. It's an examination of two young men, separated at birth: the older brother given up for adoption by the troubled mother, who then has the second child and vows to keep him and make up for her first grievous loss by hanging on to him. In many ways, it's an inversion of the standard view that the child given up for adoption is the loser, for in this case, though the adopted son has struggles of his own, he is a joyful case compared with the son who is kept, who watches his mother disintegrate via substance abuse and severe depression, and eventually takes her own life. The younger son strikes out to find his older brother, a small-time marijuana dealer who has done time, but who marries (if badly) and has a son whom he worships.

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