Click here to read reviewer Sonia Chopra's take on Fitting Ends.
This debut gathering of short stories, like Chaon's later works, deals with life and the complexities of the routine - work, bad credit, women and men together. Unlike his subsequent books, however, these pieces don't embody the resonance and dramatic persuasion of what will follow. Either the tales conclude with obvious outcomes, and that's disaster for a short prose writer, or they end with these moral and supposedly insightful moments that leave us questioning, as Dylan did, "Can this really be the end?"
There is detail but no poignancy, truth but no passion. A marriage falls apart, a man is beaten, a son finds his mother - delicate themes hobbled by missing pieces. The title story, the last narative in the book, tells of two brothers. The bad brother, the angry one, saves the decent brother from falling off a roof. So, of course, the good brother blames the bad brother for trying to push him off. Their existence happens some place outside of us; we don't care about them. The final line of the story, of the book is: "It's not really worth becoming what there is left for you to become." A challenging and inventive sentiment; unfortunately, it is too little, too late.