ISBN 9780143113409 | 400 pages | 24 Jun 2008 | Penguin | 5.11 x 7.75in | 18 - AND UP
Summary of The Amnesiac Summary of The Amnesiac Reviews for The Amnesiac An Excerpt from The Amnesiac
A gripping literary thriller from an exciting new voice in fiction“ Illusory and transfixing . . . a tender triumph.”
Hailed as “one to watch ” by the UK’s Telegraph, Sam Taylor is one of the most imaginative and innovative young writers at work today. With The Amnesiac, his United States debut, he incorporates a murder mystery and a forgotten manuscript into an exhilarating and intelligent novel. When twenty-nine-year-old James Purdew returns to England from his home in Amsterdam, it is to discover what happened during three earlier years of his life that he cannot recall. What he finds, in an old house with a tragic history, is a nineteenth-century manuscript that begins to seem less and less like a work of fiction—and more like the key to his own lost past. Memory and amnesia, fiction and reality, destiny and randomness, heaven and hell—all converge to form an engrossing gothic story that is sure to appeal to fans of Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind.
—The Telegraph (UK)
“An accomplished and entertaining read.”
—The Observer (UK)
“ A clever, beautifully written examination of memory and the tricks it can play.”
—The Sunday Express (London)
“We tried hard not to use the gawky cliché unputdownable, but there’s simply no better way to describe the excellent Sam Taylor novel The Amnesiac — which is a perfect beach/ porch/backyard companion for these waning days of summer.
The book opens in Amsterdam, where Briton James Purdew has been holed up in his apartment with his girlfriend, Ingrid, after a leg injury. As their relationship deteriorates, James hears about an ex- girlfriend in passing, yet he has no recollection of this woman. So begins a journey back to England, where he tries to piece together a large swath of his life that has simply vanished from memory. Taylor uses myriad tricks — multiple narrators, tenses switching from past to present, details disgorged in reverse chronological order — but they never seem at odds with the fascinating subject and complex characters.
No spoilers here; we’ll just say that things really take a wild turn when James stumbles upon the 19th- century manuscript Confessions of a Killer.”
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