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The Amnesia Clinic [Paperback]

James Scudamore
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 April 2006
"The Amnesia Clinic" is an extraordinary, powerful novel set in Quito, Ecuador. Anti, a quiet English boy, strikes up a friendship with flamboyant local classmate Fabian. Fabian is everything Anti isn't: handsome, athletic and popular. What's more, he lives with his cool, eccentric Uncle Suarez, while Anti is stuck in the dull ex-pat world inhabited by his parents. Suarez, a storyteller par excellence, infects the boys with his passion for outlandish tales, and before long, the relationship between them becomes one conducted entirely through the medium of storytelling. One subject is taboo: Fabian's parents. But when details surrounding their disappearance begin to emerge, Anti decides to console his friend with a story suggesting that Fabian's mother may be living at a bizarre hospital on the coast for patients with memory loss. With confused emotions and reality losing its tenuous grip, the boys embark on a quixotic voyage across Ecuador in search of an 'Amnesia Clinic' that may, or may not exist...


Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harvill Secker; UNCORRECTED PROOF edition (6 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843433036
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843433033
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 13.4 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,941,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Scudamore is the author of three novels. His first, The Amnesia Clinic, won the 2007 Somerset Maugham Award and was shortlisted for four other prizes, including the Costa First Novel Award and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. His second, Heliopolis, was longlisted for the 2009 Man Booker Prize. Wreaking is his most recent book.

Product Description

Review

`A polished debut'
-- The Guardian

`A really beautifully written, quixotic adventure.' -- Tatler

`An exuberant first novel' -- The Independent On Sunday

`Scudamore captures the teenage voice perfectly...
A fantastic read.' -- The Scotsman

"Scudamore has fun blurring the edges of truth and fiction, creating fantastic and colourful stories within stories." -- Independent on Sunday, Laurence Phelan

'A wonderful debut - witty, polished, fluent and effortlessly entertaining' -- Hilary Mantel

'An inventive debut' -- The Glasgow Herald

'Highly recommended. Scudamore has talent to burn.' -- Matt Thorne, Sunday Telegraph.

'Scudamore has produced a clever, witty and believable debut. A fantastic read.' - Caroline Gibb -- Scotsman

‘Polished debut’ -- Rachel Hore, Saturday Guardian

Book Description

Rich in South American colour, this cleverly crafted novel deals with storytelling itself - the motivations for spinning a yarn and the consequences of taking a tale too far.

Winner of the Somerset Maugham Award.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing adventures - a real page turner! 23 Sep 2009
By SusieH
Format:Paperback
The Amnesia Clinic

Ecuador in the 1990s. Fabian and Anti (Anthony) are great friends. Fabian lives with an exotic uncle, Suarez, and suffers from the dark cloud of a dead father and missing mother - almost certainly dead, but he is not prepared to accept her death. Anti lives with his much less exotic expat family who expect him to turn up to events at the British Embassy whenever required, and who are now planning to send him to boarding school in England.

Fabian fantasises about the whereabouts of his missing mother, and his fantasies get wilder. The boys skip school, with the necessary forged excuse notes, to go and find her, Fabian believing that this might actually be possible, Anti going along for the adventure. And indeed it is an adventure, with crazy characters met en route, and different modes of transport.

This is definitely a page turner - all the time you want to know what will happen next - each time they put themselves into danger you wonder how they will get out, or even whether they will get out.

Highly recommended
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helped me remember... 5 Jan 2007
Format:Paperback
This is a fabulous book, a really assured debut. I was dying to get my teeth into it, as I went on an extended holiday in Ecuador a few years ago and fell in love with the place. I was not disappointed. This book captures some of its magic. It's extremely well written, with fully formed characters (who I didn't necessarily always like) and has a really cool take on the whole nature of story itself. The ending shocked me, and made me cry, and at the same time I was left wondering what had really happened. I love the way the writer plays with language and storytelling. I think storytelling is what books should be about and that it often gets neglected for the sake of deeper themes and unusual structures in novels these days. I highly recommend this book, which I believe has also been shortlisted for a couple of prizes.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Terrific read 15 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A highly original and interesting first novel. I found the relationship between the two boys very real and really enjoyed the story immensely.
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By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Set in Ecuador, this is a story that will both shock and endear you to its twin protagonists, Fabian, who lives with his Uncle as his parents have died and Anti so-called because he couldn't get his teeth round Antony, when he was a child. Anti has asthma and is fascinated by Fabian and his Uncle, Suarez, especially the outrageous stories they tell. Anti too proves to be no mean story-teller. Anti's family are ex-pats, seconded to the Embassy and live in a handsome house in the New Town area. Fabian and his Uncle live in the Old Town, but the boys meet up at school and become firm friends.

The loss of Fabian's mother haunts him, and the boys have made up a story that feeds into their fantasies that she did not die in the car crash that killed his father, (her body was never found) but somehow escaped from the car and is being cared for, probably in a place that cares for amnesiacs, somewhere in the hinterland of Ecuador. When it appears that his parents are preparing to send Anti to school in England, the boys decide to have one more adventure and set off by train and bus to find the Amnesia Clinic that Fabian's mother, according to their poetic imagination, has ended up in. They are both aware that there is no such place, but Anti has fed Fabian's fantasies so well that they half-believe that they might find her.

Young people can easily believe two contradictory things at once. For instance, that their explanation of an event is real, and that, simultaneously, it is fake. But it is usually very young children who are able to do that and perhaps the boys are a little too old for the trick to work so well. This book is nevertheless, hypnotically readable, packed with stories that will convince you that imagined worlds are as real as your own (or mine at least) rather ordinary existence. It is a testament to story-telling that is both brilliantly convincing and true to the boys' experience, while still being a wonderful, if cautionary, tale.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Setting, character, plot - it's got them all 7 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Much enjoyed this thought-provoking, moving book. Memorable, unusual but totally believable characters - the two young men and the uncle especially. And Quito and Ecuador are vividly portrayed, too.
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