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You remind me of this other book cover

August 4, 2009 |  2:46 pm


On Sunday, we reviewed the debut novel from Brian DeLeeuw, "In this Way I Was Saved." It's the story of two boys -- one real, one less so. "Although he's a constant presence, and couldn't be more real or threatening to Luke, Daniel doesn't exist in a form anyone but Luke can see," our reviewer Eryn Loeb writes, continuing:

Still, because the story is told from Daniel's toxic, misanthropic point of view, he seems more vital than his pale, fumbling counterpart....

DeLeeuw ably pulls off what seems at first to be a questionable conceit, with echoes of the destructive, delusional protagonists of Chuck Palahniuk's "Fight Club," and that book's attendant questions about masculinity and self-deception.

When I first saw "In This Way I Was Saved," I knew none of this. What I did know was that a shiny, empty pair of men's shoes on a mottled, slightly golden surface seemed very familiar. And there it was: Dan Chaon's "You Remind Me of Me."

OK, they're not exactly the same shoes. One pair has wingtip-style stitching; the other is more of  a plain box-toed oxford. And while this might be Photoshop magic, one pair is smoking, while the other is knotted up.

But they're still really similar. And what's odd is that the books are playing in somewhat similar territory. Questions of identity, creeping malevolence and a kind of dual self are also at play in Chaon's marvelous "You Remind Me of Me."

What's with the empty dude shoes?

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Images from Simon & Schuster, left, and Random House, right.