The Brother Did It

Dan Chaon wrote one of my favorite short stories ever, "Fitting Ends."  I stole some of the ending of the story for a couple of my own stories, where the narrator tells you how the story ends, and it all wraps up well and then you realize that the conclusion is not true, it's just the ending the narrator wishes had happened. I haven't read Fitting Ends in a while, but I remember that it's about two brothers.  One dies or runs away (Dale?) and the other brother feels responsible for his demise, like he betrays his sibling and sets in motion this chain of events that lead to his bad ending. In this way, it's similar to what Briony does in Atonement. Maybe I should write a story where the narrator believes some tragedy is her fault and the reader knows that really, the whole thing would've turned out badly regardless of how she behaved.

Last night, I finished Chaon's Await Your Reply. In this book, there are three different stories happening at one time--a young girl runs off with her high school teacher, a kid reunites with his deadbeat dad to start stealing identities online, and a twin searches for his missing schizophrenic brother who may or may not have murdered their parents. You think that all three stories are happening simultaneously and that they'll intersect at some point, where the twin will meet the young girl or whatever, but this never happens, because you realize at the end of the book that two of the characters (the high school teacher and the deadbeat dad) are the actually the same person, the lost twin the other brother has been seeking. Surprise! I didn't see that coming and wasn't even exactly sure what happened even as it was being described. My thoughts are that it was interesting throughout, and ultimately unresolved and unsettling, because the brothers never found one another and

Here is an interview with him from The Believer. 


arhutek said…