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Amnesia by [Cooper, Douglas Anthony]
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Amnesia Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Length: 240 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The nameless narrator of this semi-surreal, hypnotic debut is an archival librarian who misses his own wedding while listening to the unbidden confession of a complete stranger, Izzy Darlow. At age 13, Izzy commits a robbery one day before his bar mitzvah, and to atone, he volunteers to work at a mental hospital. Three years later he meets Katie, a sometimes mute patient traumatized by sexual abuse which she relives in nightmarish memories. Izzy's story weaves Katie's past into the history of his own family's disintegration, which was abetted by his brother Aaron, an eccentric engineer who builds a computer that mimics negative emotions. The two lives intersect when Izzy falls for Katie; they make love on the washroom floor but after electric shock treatments destroy her memory, Izzy kills his need for her. Unhinged by Izzy's story, the narrator, himself the victim of some unidentified childhood trauma, wanders through a dreamlike mindscape of other people's memories (he is an archival librarian); Izzy's voice alternates with that of the ancient Greek poet Simonides, "the Father of Memory," until the narrator's mind is overwhelmed. Published to extravagant praise in Canada (with comparisons to Nabokov, Genet, Calvino and Margaret Atwood), this fragmentary novel impresses with propulsive sentences that smolder and ignite, hallucinatory images and a lyrical exploration of the destructive effects of buried memories and family secrets.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

A dysfunctional family and a difficult adolescent in Toronto are the foundations of this compelling and intricate first novel, which combines elements of Frankenstein with the magical realism of recent South American fiction. Three characters--an archives librarian who has lost his memory; Katie, a young woman in a mental hospital; and Izzy Barlow, the main narrator--tell and retell their stories. These stories intersect, diverge, contradict, embellish, and ultimately come together to lay bare each life. The dangerously seductive comfort of forgetting and the nature of memory, guilt, and passion are explored intellectually and viscerally. Ambitious in scope and complex in its writing, this compulsively readable novel becomes bogged down toward the end, but Cooper is clearly an author to watch. For readers of literary and experimental fiction. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/93.
- Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 390 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: July 3, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005AM5U1W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,075,839 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tracy VINE VOICE on July 26, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A man with no memory. A memory with no man. And the broken girl who spans the bridge between them.

There are books that are read and enjoyed, books that thrill, that scare, that anger, that birth hope, renew faith, hint at love. Amnesia is not one of those books. In fact, Amnesia isn't quite like any other book I've read, and now that I've done so, ordering my thoughts and feelings about it seem as herculean a task as understanding all the brilliant nuances and twisting labyrinths found in its pages. But I'll try.

Highly stylized, brutally intelligent, psychotically affecting, this dark tale of a young man's twisted life and identity is gripping and morose, sickly seeping a sense of impending doom as it progresses in fits and starts, sliding forwards and backwards. It's a story boldly told, uniquely told, in a rambling narrative with a shifting focus, a narrative that slaps the reader upside the head with blurry snapshots of crystalline images. Broken family, tragedy, isolation, angst, sexual assault, theft, suicide of the mind, identity, Cooper hits hard with a panorama of confused misery and keeps it coming in this tale that - with its abstract and esoteric fugues - is both hard to follow and impossible to set down.

If I am to be honest, and though it pains me to admit, I can't say I understood all of it. In fact, parts of it left my mind feeling beaten, as if my intellect went to war and came home in a black bag. I can't even say I liked it, really. It's not the sort of book that I consider likable.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Memory is important, and its loss creates dangerous, violent, even evil conditions. This magnificent novel explores memory and its loss in contexts spanning the extremely personal, interpersonal, familial, metropolitan, architectural, mythic, philosophic, and religious. In a feat unsurpassed in virtuosity, Douglas Anthony Cooper has written a compelling, page-turning fictional memoir/mystery in a truly poetic voice.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Douglas Anthony Cooper escaped me until last week and for the life of me, I don't know why I downloaded Amnesia for my Kindle. Regardless, this author has impressed me greatly with his way with words, way with creating characters, way with interweaving and juxtaposing tales, and he has given me a novel which I am eager to reread. Because I was able to highlight passages on the Kindle, I am can access incredible statements at my convenience. This is not a novel which is read and forgotten, but rather one which festers and reappears at any time, like memories that are triggered without warning. It is literature which I believe is timeless and I recommend this novel to those who enjoy being immersed in a story without thinking about the weakness of an author's words.
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Okay first off - I will disagree with those who say that if you read Milrose you must read this as I sent Milrose to my young nephew and even though he sometimes reads "adult" books instead of books meant for a younger audience, this would be beyond him. So while yes this is the same author who wrote Milrose please make no mistake - it's not for everyone who read and loved that book.

Now with that said, for the rest of us, I'm not even sure where to begin. The book itself sort of warns of that straight off, we'll forget. The book is about Izzy. Or a man with no memories struggling to figure out who he is before he gets married. Or a dysfunctional family. Or young girls who ended up going through way more than just typical heartbreak of youth. Or... well I forget.

While most try to compare books, even loosely, to others to give you an idea of what you'll get from lesser known books I'm not sure I can compare this book to another or explain it fairly. The best I can say is that I felt as though I were reading a coming of age flashback story (albeit with more serious issues than the usual rah rah stereotypical who will I take to the prom stuff) if told by Tyler Durden of Fight Club (okay I worked in another novel reference after all). You won't want to pick this one to just read a little here and there and get back to it later - as I said, you'll forget, or get lost, etc. It will mess with you even as you're reading it straight through, and that's a good thing.
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Format: Hardcover
Douglas Cooper, Amnesia (Hyperion, 1994)
[originally posted 10Apr2000]

After a good deal of thought, I finally decided this one gets a **** ½ instead of a five. Why? Because, while it's utterly brilliant, it doesn't quite have the life-changing qualities as The Secret Service or The Diviners did. Ah, well, you can't win 'em all.

Izzy is a very odd person. And on the narrator's wedding day, Izzy shows up at the narrator's place of business (yes, he's there on his wedding day) and begins spinning his life story. The narrator, annoyed at first, soon finds himself becoming weirdly absorbed in the many strange events, which raise questions about both Izzy's mental faculties (as the title of the book would suggest, there is always the idea that Izzy is leaving out some crucial details) and his own-- the narrator also suffers from amnesia, and can't remember anything that happened to him more than two years before the story opens.

Wrapped up in Izzy's life story are the plots of any thousand novels--the coming-of-age novel, the Jewish-experience novel, the living-in-Toronto novel (which, according to Izzy's dry sarcasm, is worse than the other two combined). A basic knowledge of the geography of Toronto is helpful, but aside from a couple of street corners, most of what passes for Toronto here is actually some kind of surreal fantasy-land; don't worry if your knowledge of Canadian geography is nil. Cooper is more than capable of conveying the sense of hopeless bewilderment that comes from living in most large cities.

If you read the dust jacket, you're inclined to believe that the major plot in here is Izzy's relationship with Katie, a girl who's been mentally scarred by the (imagined?) visitations of a "golden lover.
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