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Dan Chaon   Among the Missing  
Dan Chaon    
essay

short story

 

Dan Chaon won acclaim for his first collection of short stories, Fitting Ends and Other Stories, and has been honored with a place in Best American Short Stories 1996 and The Pushcart Prize 2000. His new collection, Among the Missing, promises to add to his reputation, as it sees him treating themes of absence, loss, and recovery, with rare insight.

One of Chaon's favorite themes is the response to loss over time. In "Safety Man", a woman is so disoriented by her husband's death that she begins sleeping with the torso of an inflatable man-doll. In "Big Me", a story that could be described as a darker Harriet the Spy, a grown man reflects on his youthful aspirations to be a detective, centered around the day that he encountered an older, disillusioned alter-ego. One of the most stirring, sensual stories in Among the Missing, "Prosthesis", has a woman considering decisions she has made and not made; has her standing, quizzically, gazing out at an infinity of causes and effects, branching this way and that, visions of lovers with plastic arms, lovers scarred by fire, surrounding her life at a discrete moment of time.

In this issue of Bold Type, read Dan Chaon's story "Prosthesis", as well as an essay by the author about his childhood.

-- Anson Lang

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