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Amnesia Moon Paperback – August 8, 2005
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A funny post-apocalyptic road noir tale of Chaos, who lives in an abandoned projection booth at the Multiplex in Hatfork, Wyoming, and his journey to find the truth at the heart of his own American nightmare. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Lethem's post-apocalyptic vision reflects American culture as if in a funhouse mirror in this strong follow-up to Gun, with Occasional Music. Televangelists have become actual robots, dog food is the cuisine of choice and the soap operas star government figures?all making for a confusing world for Everett, aka Chaos, who lives in a movie-projection room in Wyoming, drinking a liquor "that amounted to rubbing alcohol." Fleeing his projection booth with Melinda, who's "covered with fine, silky hair from head to foot," Chaos discovers that he is a "dreamer," one whose dreams can remake reality. As Chaos and Melinda travel through the U.S., they find that, while each town has been affected differently by the mysterious source of the apocalypse, none can fill in their incomplete memories or answer their questions. Alighting in Vacaville, where everything is determined by "luck tests," Chaos and Melinda settle into family life with a woman and her two children. But figures from his past, including some who appear only under the influence of intravenously administered drugs, draw Chaos into discovering that past?and into making more active use of his dream powers. The author draws each stop on Chaos's journey with care, including a supremely decadent San Francisco and a Los Angeles overrun with aliens, bringing to life all the horror and confusion inherent in his future world. At its heart, this novel remains a simple story?the search for identity, the search for family?but Lethem uses it successfully as a springboard for both a commentary on American culture and a convincing portrait of his main character. Author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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While the writing is excellent, there are several points where the story drags. The clear resolutions found in Lethem's other works are not present here. This is a confusing tale that gets progressively more confusing through the conclusion. Its worthwhile if you are willing to put in the effort but not as fulfilling as it should be.
Which is worse: a megalomaniac or someone pulling the strings who doesn't even know he's doing it? Lethem will have you scratching your head continuously as you try to figure out the meaning of this (pick a genre so long as "strange" is part of the description) book.
It seems the consensus of reviewers is that there is a weak ending. Add my vote to that tally. This is a weird book which is fine; but coupling it with a non-existent finish does a disservice to the reader.
A terrific introduction to his work.
Utterly inventive and a soulful examination of the conflict between the inner and the outer landscapes.
As the reader is introduced into all these new towns that are discovered along the roadtrip, my ultimate feeling after each one was just, "oh, okay". The character development was pretty weak, and I wasn't really drawn in or connected to any of them. Maybe because I read the book in short increments on my train ride, but the last half of the book I felt confused. I couldn't see how the first half off the book or the discovered towns really connected to any of the story other than to fill time. There are some really cool ideas that kept me intriguied, but I felt more obligated to keep reading as I had already started, than being excited to see where the story was going. To finish, there was no real culmination or wrap-up - the book sort of just ended. I was disappointed as this book had been recommended to me.
My sense is that Lethem didn't know what to do with his novel. He'd written something quite good, until he got to San Francisco. And then he suddenly goes Pynchon-esque on us. Lethem neither prepares us for this abysmal confusion, nor did he execute the transition adequately. He stammers and reaches fitfully, until he simply closes the book. This book should not have been published in its current state. Will I read Lethem again after this introduction? Perhaps: there was enough in the first 100 pages to make me think the guy can tell a good story... and Amazon readers tell us to focus our Lethem energies elsewhere.