Dan Chaon’s second book Among the Missing (2001) was a finalist for the National Book Award.
This collection of stories features the widely anthologized “Big Me,” about a man named Andy who has suffered blackouts since childhood. As a child, Andy kept a journal and retreated from the realties of an abusive household to an imaginary city where he played the role of Detective.
Chaon was for many years the Pauline M. Delaney Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College before retiring in 2018. He has won several awards, including three Pushcart Prizes and the Cleveland Arts Prize. His most recent book is the novel Sleepwalk (2022).
When asked if where his stories often take place can be described as “Middle America,” Chaon told Transatlantica: “People who actually live in “Middle America” would make big distinctions between Nebraska and Ohio, between Chicago and Cleveland, between small town Iowa and Council Bluffs, Iowa. But to people in New York or London or Paris, those distinctions might not seem particularly significant. In some ways, saying ‘Middle America’ is like saying ‘Europe,’ as if there isn’t any difference between being French or German or Spanish.”
If you enjoyed Among the Missing, we suggest these Ohio side trips: