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The Amnesiac    by Sam Taylor order for
by Sam Taylor
Order:  USA  Can
Penguin, 2008 (2008)

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The London Telegraph touts The Amnesiac by Sam Taylor as 'Illusory and transfixing a tender triumph.' It is illusory ... and maybe transfixing, but for me - and I am definitely not an intellectual - it was confusing and hard to follow.

The concept is just short of brilliant a man, James Purdew, who has lost three years of his life and is now trying to remember where those three years went and what happened during them. We wonder if he does find out, will he really want to know? As Purdew's characterization develops, it is easy to recognize a man who is in torment over those lost years.

The manner in which he recovers his memory lost me somewhere. Not sure where. The plot kept jumping from a dreamlike state to reality or what the man felt was reality. But was it? I kept waiting for someone to jump into the text to loudly proclaim, 'Ha! Gotcha!' Though the ending cleared up some questions, it was too late then for me to care. I'm afraid that Taylor's technique in writing The Amnesiac was simply beyond me.

I also have to declare that the prose was beautifully written, with descriptions and a sense of place that flew off the page to illuminate my imagination. I could easily visualize the foggy streets, the basement James Purdew occupied for a brief time, the apple tree that produced such delicious fruit and the various women he encountered and loved.

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