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Ill Will
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
137 posts | 88 read | 2 reading | 192 to read
Two sensational unsolved crimesone in the past, another in the presentare linked by one mans memory and self-deception in this chilling novel of literary suspense from National Book Award finalist Dan Chaon. We are always telling a story to ourselves, about ourselves, Dustin Tillman likes to say. Its one of the little mantras he shares with his patients, and its meant to be reassuring. But what if that story is a lie? A psychologist in suburban Cleveland, Dustin is drifting through his forties when he hears the news: His adopted brother, Rusty, is being released from prison. Thirty years ago, Rusty received a life sentence for the massacre of Dustins parents, aunt, and uncle. The trial came to symbolize the 1980s hysteria over Satanic cults; despite the lack of physical evidence, the jury believed the outlandish accusations Dustin and his cousin made against Rusty. Now, after DNA analysis has Meanwhile, one of Dustins patients gets him deeply engaged in a string of drowning deaths involving drunk college boys. At first Dustin dismisses talk of a serial killer as paranoid thinking, but as he gets wrapped up in their amateur investigation, Dustin starts to believe that theres more to the deaths than coincidence. Soon he becomes obsessed, crossing all professional boundariesand putting his own family in harms way. From one of todays most renowned practitioners of literary suspense, Ill Will is an intimate thriller about the failures of memory and the perils of self-deception. In Dan Chaons nimble, chilling prose, the past looms over the present, turning each into a haunted place. PRAISE FOR DAN CHAON Among the Missing Unforgettable . . . hums with life and wry humor . . . The stories sneak resolutely up on you, like new weather that hits before you know it.The New York Times Book Review One of those writers who possess an uncanny and seemingly otherwordly understanding of the human condition . . . Chaon [is] a remarkable chronicler of a very American kind of sadness, much in the tradition of Richard Yates, Raymond Carver, and Denis Johnson.San Francisco Chronicle You Remind Me of Me Remarkable . . . weaves the threads into a whole that is not only satisfying but devastating.Entertainment Weekly (Editors Choice) Extraordinary . . . renews my faith in the unique capacity of literature to help us understand and ultimately respect ourselves and the strange, baffling, complex figures we all can be.Houston Chronicle Await Your Reply Stunning . . . Like the finest of his storytelling heroes, Mr. Chaon manages to bridge the gap between literary and pulp fiction with a clever, insinuating book equally satisfying to fans of either genre.The New York Times A riveting thriller, chock-full of plot twists . . . Theres a bristling momentum that develops, as in any great tale of suspense. . . . [Chaon] writes with an eloquence rarely seen in the world of page-turners.Los Angeles Times Book Review Stay Awake Eerily beautiful . . . [Chaon] is the modern day John Cheever.Boston Sunday Globe There are not many fiction writers who can do what Dan Chaon can do. . . . [He is] a literary force.The Philadelphia Inquirer From the Hardcover edition.
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Brie
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Pickpick

This was such an eerie, paranoia-inducing read. I loved it! It was told through flashbacks to the 1980s satanic panic and roughly present day. Lots of interesting themes regarding memory and if we can trust our own judgment about our pasts, or if we construct new memories because it‘s just easier to cope with life after tragedy that way.

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Sweettartlaura
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Panpan

#unpopularopinion time
I polished off these three tonight. And I didn‘t like any of them 😕
I DNF‘ed the two on the right - I just didn‘t care.
I did finish Looking for Alaska, but by skimming. I‘d heard it was amazing, & kept trying to give it a chance. But I didn‘t care about anyone in that book except the religion professor🤷🏻‍♀️
At least I‘m free to make some new pics tomorrow.

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Sweettartlaura
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Starting this one tonight

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vivastory
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Although we are firmly entrenched in the digital age, the incorporation of the technology in fiction is still novel &, when executed correctly, exciting. Such as the text messages in Ill Will & Joe Hill's Loaded. It is also fascinating to read an older procedural where the pacing is different, due to the investigator having to hoof it to the nearest phone booth.
#TelephoneWire #MusicalNewYear
@Cinfhen

BarbaraBB Great post! 7mo
rohit-sawant Great point about pacing! 7mo
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CaitlinR
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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“Don‘t you think that there‘s really a reality, and we all know IT IS realty?” — Uncle Rusty (p. 298)

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CaitlinR
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Pickpick

This book gave me nightmares, but Lordy, is it well written. I found myself not liking any of the characters, with the exception of Uncle Rusty, and even he was an abuser. Unmoored from time, and truth, manipulating and manipulated, each person is strangely compelling.

Do I recommend it? Only for those with intact egos, and only for daytime reading, but yes, an incredible read.

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RealLifeReading
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Pickpick

This book was full of unreliable narrators and it was such an uncomfortable read. And that is where I have to admire Chaon. He made it so uncomfortable a read yet it was a book that I couldn't stop reading. It wasn't something I could read and read and read. I had to stop and put it aside but I kept going back to it. Until it was done. And I reckon that's the mark of an excellent writer.

BookaholicNatty Great great review!! I definitely want to check this out! 14mo
BarbaraBB Great review. This was a pick for me too! 14mo
Cinfhen This was SUCH a dark story! Frenzy and murky and a bit trippy too!!! I did see the twist early on but I still enjoyed the journey (edited) 14mo
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LiteraryinLititz Great review! 14mo
RealLifeReading @BookaholicNatty thank you! It was definitely an interesting read. Hope you like it! 14mo
RealLifeReading @BarbaraBB @Cinfhen thanks! Definitely very murky and trippy! 14mo
110 likes9 stack adds7 comments
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RidgewayGirl
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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What do you call the opposite of a book haul? Here are the books I‘ve painfully culled to donate to the annual Books for Keeps booksale in Athens, Georgia. They‘ll raise money for a good cause and as a bonus, there‘s a bit more space for new books.

BarbaraBB Some great books you say goodbye to. Did you read Capital? I‘ve had a copy for years but somehow I‘m never in the mood to pick it up. 14mo
RidgewayGirl @BarbaraBB I really liked Capital. Lanchester writes well and the story he told was both a solid story and about larger social issues. It‘s worth reading and I enjoyed reading it. 14mo
BarbaraBB That is good to know, I‘ll keep that in mind next time I eye it on my tbr shelves! 14mo
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arubabookwoman I loved Capital. I think I gave it 5 stars (maybe 4 1/2 since I rarely give 5). @BarbaraBB (edited) 14mo
BarbaraBB @arubabookwoman I‘ll move it up the tbr, thanks! 14mo
laytonwoman3rd Culling books is like killing ants, you know? For every one you get rid of, two more will move in.A 14mo
21 likes6 comments
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RealLifeReading
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Hooked_on_books
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Mehso-so

This novel moves back and forth through time, exploring the tragic events in Dustin Tillman‘s life and multiple mysteries. I‘m not sure how to rate it, as it started out quite promising, got a bit weird, then weirder, then ended in a place I didn‘t see coming. I enjoyed it, but I completely understand the mixed reviews.

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Mdargusch
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Here is my list so far of heart pounding thrillers. I haven‘t read most of these. Does anyone have one to add?

Betty Love your handwriting! 1y
avgeyer UNSUB and Into The Black Nowhere by Meg Gardiner (UNSUB is the first book in the series). I could not put them down! 1y
emilyhaldi I haven't heard of this one! 1y
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Gayan This was my favorite book I read last year. 1y
Gayan Oh and @avgeyer I agree 100%. 1y
introvertedbooks So jealous of your bullet journal skills! I tried so hard to start this but I'm way too lazy lol 1y
EvieBee I always prescribe this first. 1y
84 likes13 comments
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AlizaApp
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Pickpick

A deeply unsettling psychological thriller, which I greatly enjoyed. A man whose family was murdered when he was young tries to come to grips with a string of local unsolved deaths that he believes may be connected. I can‘t stop thinking about the ending.

Kaye I keep looking for another that‘d be comparable to Bird Box. Whatcha think about this one ? 2y
BarbaraBB That ending 😱 2y
AlizaApp @Kaye I have not read Bird Box so I can‘t compare, but I liked this one! 2y
AlizaApp @BarbaraBB I know! The text message part killed me 2y
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Allkat
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Cool book! Cold day.

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mdhughes72
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Panpan

One of only 20 or so books on all 3 pick lists (NPR, NYT, WaPo), I had great expectations that unfortunately were not met. Seemed like it was heading toward a breakthrough or big reveal, but instead the late-plot twist felt like a cheat, negating all the development up to that point. I was intrigued by the premise—troubling issues of repressed/false memories and the deception of self and others—but ultimately it offered little substance. ⭐️⭐️

Spiderfelt I bailed on this book after the first hour of listening. It bugged me and I couldn't shake the creepy feeling. Not a good combination. I wonder why it ended up on so many lists. I believe it has also been long listed for The Morning News' Tournament of Books. 2y
mdhughes72 @spiderfelt It‘s too bad because I felt like it had the makings for a great read. 2y
17 likes2 comments
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Velvetsun
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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1. ILL Will by Dan Chaon
2. Robert Mccammon
3. The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
4. Discworld
5. The Red by Tiffany Reisz
6. Hex by Thomas Olds Huevalt and The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas #7GoodThings

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Myhusbandhatesreading
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Panpan

I have finally finished this book. I would‘ve bailed but I felt committed to finishing it. The plot was decent but the writing and the set up of the chapters were just way too confusing. 👎

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Myhusbandhatesreading
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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and..nothing, it just went to the next chapter!!

I‘m finishing this on principle at this point because I️ really can‘t stand these paragraph drop offs.

cariashley 😮😂 2y
Megara 😂 2y
46 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Jencunnin
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Cold, grey winter days call for creepy, suspenseful books. And this one is doing the trick.

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Myhusbandhatesreading
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Each page in this chapter is split into 2 different thoughts, I don‘t like it...

Hoopiefoot That was the main reason I gave up on this book 2y
MicheleinPhilly I bailed on this one. 2y
TheLibrarian This really bothered me too. I think the print book is set up a little better. 2y
43 likes1 stack add3 comments
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Howardsimmons
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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My first Dan Chaon novel and it is not disappointing. So many folks whose taste I admire love him, and I‘m happy to finally be joining the club.

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VinceReads
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Finished this one at lunch. Not as great as I was hoping. The book jumped around a lot between characters and time periods, sometimes going pages without mentioning names. The ending felt rushed as well.

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VinceReads
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Going to finally finish this one today. The formatting went all crazy on my kindle yesterday so finishing it off on the tablet.

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VinceReads
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Currently reading. I'm enjoying so far though it it does jump around between time and characters quite a bit.

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BarbaraBB
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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“I realized that I had the choice. I could give this moment a meaning, or I could choose to ignore it. It just depended on the kind of story I wanted to tell myself.”

Central point in Ill Will, a thriller I liked very much. It was about #KnowYourEnemy. The question is: did he? #Rocktober

Cinfhen Clever!!! I liked this book, it was dark & gritty and I did solve the enemy😛 2y
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NatalieR
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Pickpick

This is my first Dan Chaon. I really liked this book even though I have MANY unresolved issues. It‘s pretty dark and includes heavy situations. The narration of this book was good and I‘m glad I went that route considering other reviewers had issues with the written version.

L_auren Loved this one!! So unusual 2y
EllieDottie I love the mug!! 2y
NatalieR @EllieDottie Thanks! 😊 2y
Bloomingjen love OBX 2y
NatalieR @Bloomingjen me too! (obviously) 2y
54 likes5 comments
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Nitpickyabouttrains
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Mehso-so

Parts of this book were amazing. The characters and flash backs kept me reading. But there were some things, like writing in columns over a few pages, that I did not enjoy at all.

Cinfhen This was a dark & disjointed read! 2y
15 likes1 comment
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Julieannerino
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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First few pages into this.... I've heard it's great!

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JennaAZ
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
Mehso-so

This had a story that could've been really good, but it seemed like the author just got way too many strands going and couldn't figure out what to do with them. The ending was pretty unsatisfying.

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Jana
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
Mehso-so

This book. Messed up enough for my tastes but I was not a fan of the writing. AT ALL. The dual unsolved mysteries and multiple POVs were engaging but the editing and style made for a frustrating and annoying read. There was a ton of detail yet I finished the book completely unsatisfied because I felt like I was given the wrong details to draw conclusions and get a finished story. I don't know that I wanted more but I definitely wanted different.

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Maureen
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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So far the narration is great and the dual mysteries have me hooked.

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Readerann
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Mehso-so

Chaon is a heck of a writer, but this is possibly the darkest book I've ever read. I didn't 'pan' it because I was intrigued enough to finish it, although I was not surprised by the twist at the end.

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HardcoverHearts
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Since I just finished A Separation, this was on my list because it was paired against it for the summer match up done by the team that produces the Tournament of Books. I am liking it so far and interesting in seeing the critique and match up!

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AudreyMorris
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Pickpick

So I enjoyed both of the July choices for #2017summerreadingchallenge by #tob --I don't know if I can pick a favorite!

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Readerann
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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I'm starting to have too much ill will from reading this book, and am putting it aside for now. I got it from the library because it was one of the Rooster Summer Reading Challenge books (from themorningnews.org). On to something a little lighter for #24in48.

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Readerann
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Ok, all that Saturday stuff is done - now I'm ready to dig in and READ! #24in48

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Readerann
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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My partial stack for #24in48 (and beyond!) I also have A Mind to Murder (P.D. James) and The Doomsday Book (Connie Willis) on the Kindle. Quite the eclectic mix, I'd say. Note to self: Stop going nuts at the library used book sales, so you won't feel guilty about reading ebooks or new stuff!

Mamashep But but but .... books! For sale! 2y
Readerann @Mamashep Right? And they need new homes! 2y
Mamashep They DO need new homes! 2y
15 likes3 comments
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AudreyMorris
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Hanging in the park with my new fiction read and green milk boba tea, waiting for my kids' XC practice to end.

BarbaraBB Have fun. I just finished it and really enjoyed it! 2y
22 likes1 comment
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AudreyMorris
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Library book haul! These have been in my queue--I requested Ill Will in May!--and I leave in 10 days on a Boy Scout backpacking trip with one of my kids. Aye yi yi these are too heavy to take.

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BarbaraBB
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Pickpick

A read full of twists, psychology, different styles and narrators. Dustin's life is characterized by murders: when he was young, his parents were murdered. As a grown-up he becomes interested in a series of disappearing college boys, who seemingly all drown when drunk. Chaon takes you on a wild ride and yes, I did come to some conclusions about what happened but I am not sure if I am right. Above all I feel dazzled and I like that a lot.

Jinjer Loved that book so much! 2y
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Monica5
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
Mehso-so

This was a strange book. Was a Blind Date With A Book from the library. Didn't really care for it.

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BookBoggart
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Having some broccoli soup and chicken salad sammich! The sun is shining and I am content. This book is kinda meh for me. I want to like it and I do. I'm at the stage when I read it, it's good, but I don't have the urge to read it. You know? #muchlove #thursdayismyday #muchlove #booksandfood

Reviewsbylola I hate that feeling because I never know if I should bail or stick with it! 2y
Megabooks Yum! 2y
Reggie I think you meant "sangwich" lololol 2y
courtney One of my friends felt the same way about this and he LOVES Dan Chaon. Excited to see you final review. 2y
34 likes4 comments
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ReadingEnvy
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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I'm hoping to finish this today but I'm also dying to work on a book sorting project so we shall see. Anyone else doing the Tournament of Books summer reading?

AudreyMorris I am! I am currently reading Marlena (and liking it!). I have been in the library queue for Ill Will for over 6 weeks.... 2y
ReadingEnvy @AudreyMorris ah cool. I bailed pretty fast on the Night Ocean but I'm liking this one. I had to get it twice from the library so I'm lucky the hold list was shorter!! 2y
AudreyMorris @ReadingEnvy I loved The Night Ocean, but did not live A Separation. If it weren't for this challenge I would have bailed on it. Also, I thought it might get better. It didn't lol. 2y
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ReadingEnvy @AudreyMorris oh yeah I had bailed on that one earlier in the year too! 2y
BarbaraBB I Just finished Ill Will (loved it!) and will now move on to 2y
ReadingEnvy @BarbaraBB I look forward to your thoughts. I ended up bailing on The Night Ocean. 2y
64 likes6 comments
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Jinjer
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Pickpick

THIS BOOK! 😳I thought something was wrong with my ebook download because of all the broken sentences and dialogue broken up into 2 or 3 columns! No, it was the deliciously insane writing style! I loved the shifting narrators and how sometimes it was 1st person & sometimes 3rd person. Are Dan Chaim's other books this good?

melrailey I've read some of his stuff and really enjoyed it. 2y
TheWordJar Just got this from the library and can't wait to start it. This book was twisted as well and I loved it----> 2y
TheWordJar Also enjoyed his short story collection----> 2y
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Jinjer @TheWordJar thanks for the two recommendations! 2y
Jinjer @melrailey great! 2y
Heidi2 Sounds pretty good. Stacked! 2y
30 likes6 comments
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Jinjer
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Up early, reading Ill Will in the dark house. I'm not sure how I'm able to continue reading it since the Overdrive loan expired quite awhile ago, but I'm grateful! This book is very strange and I keep changing my mind about who the killer is. Oh and my laptop is still on L.A. time. It's 6am here in Arkansas, not 4am.

BibliophileMomma Ahem *I might put my kindle on airplane mode if I'm not finished with a book by the deadline* 🤷🏻‍♀️😏😏 2y
Jinjer @Tiffy_Reads Interesting!! But my laptop, phone & Kindle are all communicating with the wifi 24/7 so I'm baffled. 2y
24 likes2 comments
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Cinfhen
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Day 24( How is that possible?!?) #JuneTunz { I kind of screwed up} There are two hashtags for today #soulMeetsBody & #Obsession both are song suggestions courtesy of @Zelma so feel free to choose whichever you want 😜Ill Will is dark, gritty, disjointed, disturbing and offers a study on the effects of #obsession in both past & present. There is also #SoulMeetsBody moments ( but to say more would be a spoiler) Sorry, about my screwup #vacaybrain

Reviewsbylola Lol, that's kind of funny. 😂 2y
TrishB Keeps us on our toes 😀 2y
Zelma 😂 nothing wrong with vacation brain! 👍 2y
94 likes4 comments
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SarahSDavis
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Stranded in my car because I missed my train to go in the city and meet my friend for lunch. I'm waiting for the next one. I could not have chosen a better book to make the time fly. Twisty and suspenseful, dark and delicious prose, this thriller is a great way to kick off summer reading season.

SilversReviews Awesome....always great to have a book with you. You never know when you will need it for an emergency time filler. :) 2y
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Blair_Reads
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

AudreyMorris I am in a huge library queue for this book! 2y
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vivastory
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Pickpick

It wasn't until I had read a little over 150 pages that I became more interested in this novel. Chaon's novel alternates between the present & the early 80's. Much of the present narrative is fragmented. Chaon's formal experimentations were hit & miss for me. Having finished the book, I am unconvinced that these strategies were beneficial to a story that could have been told more traditionally. However, once i became accustomed to it, 👇

vivastory Chaon's elliptical style does not necessarily detract from the reading experience. When i think about "Ill Will" in the future, rather than formal experimentation I will remember more the basic narrative & the ideas of the uncertainties of memory & how our perceptions of people is often our basis for reality. 2y
Cinfhen Excellent review, couldn't agree more! That disjointed feeling really added to this gritty uncomfortable story. 2y
merelybookish Agree about the experimentation. Not sure it added much. But my issue with this book is the ending. I felt like Chaon got in over his head and then couldnt manage. So he killed off a bunch of characters. It seemed cheap. 2y
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LiteraryinLititz Thanks for the perceptive review! 2y
vivastory @merelybookish I agree. I kept thinking of Tremblay's "A Head Full of Ghosts" while reading "Ill Will." Have you read it? 2y
merelybookish @vivastory No I haven't read it. I don't read much crime/thriller. All the plotting gets to me. It needs to have enough to keep me guessing. But then if there's too much, I get annoyed by all the mechnisms​ at play. 😐 2y
vivastory @merelybookish I feel like it is similar to "Ill Will," but succeeds in all the ways Chaon doesn't 2y
EKonrad @merelybookish I completely agree with you about the ending! I was game for the whole story until the rushed, forced ending. Ruined the whole thing for me. 😔 2y
56 likes1 stack add8 comments
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vivastory
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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