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The Vintage Book of Amnesia (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) Paperback – 1 Dec 2000

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Product details

  • Paperback: 414 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books (1 Dec. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375706615
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375706615
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,116,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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POOLE had begun to give an ironic inflection to the phrase "in my former life." Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 22 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Perhaps it's 'wrong' of me, but I was fascinated by the two scientific true stories in this collection, though there were a number of notable writers whose fiction was enjoyable - Christopher Priest's, mainly because I've read a number of his books, and this was an excerpt from his novel The Affirmation (S.F. Masterworks), and Steve Erikson's cinematic story about a `discovered' nephew whose condition causes a state close to Tourette's syndrome, only in French (it seems he had spent some time in France with other relations). It was the piece by Valentine Worth, together with the article by Oliver Sacks, that really interested me.

Valentine Worth's account of Geoffrey Sonabend's three-volume work: 'Obliescence: Theories of Forgetting and the Problem of Matter' departed from all previous research with the premise that memory is an illusion. He describes amnesia thus:

"We Amnesiacs all, condemned to live in an eternally fleeting present have created the most elaborate of human constructions, memory, to buffer ourselves against the intolerable knowledge of the irreversible passage of time and the irretrievability of its moments and events."

While not denying the experience of memory, Sonnabend's work was predicated on the idea that: "what we experience as memories are in fact confabulations, artificial constructions of our own design based around sterile particles of retained experience which we attempt to make live again by infusions of imagination..." Long term or distant memories, he contends, are illusions.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Unforgettable 7 Dec. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A terrific concept brilliantly executed. The editor has gathered a superb collection of stories and essays that address, directly or otherwise, the subject of memory loss. What is memory? What does it mean to remember, and why does it matter? These are only a few of the questions that are explored from many different perspectives by Martin Amis, Oliver Sacks, Vladimir Nabokov, Philip K. Dick, and many other distinguished writers. This is one book you won't soon forget!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Uneven and teasing, but contains gems 9 July 2001
By Jens Alfke - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The theme is right up my alley and Lethem is one of my favorite authors. Nevertheless I found the book frustrating, because many of the pieces are excerpts from novels and show it, with abrupt endings that don't resolve anything. I'm grateful for having the chance to get tastes of these (mostly obscure) books, but it detracts from the anthology itself. Nevertheless, thanks to this I've already discovered, purchased and read two excellent novels I'd never heard of before -- Lawrence Shainberg's "Memories Of Amnesia" (first person view of eminent neurologist's mental collapse) and John Franklin Bardin's "The Deadly Percheron" (weirdo '40s noir) -- and in between enjoyed some old classics I hadn't re-read in a while, such as Philip K Dick's terrifying SF short story "I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon".
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Hardly cohesive 21 Jun. 2001
By Thomas Dignazio - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
While this book contains many wonderful short stories, it fails at being a cohesive anthology. Editor Lethem has broadly defined 'amnesia' define anything related to the doubt of one's mental state or existence. That's wide net, and the resulting catch is eclectic and disjointed.
I also have a problem with the excerpts from full novels. Although many stand well on their own, I always feel as if I'm not getting the full point. Once I was halfway through I began skipping the excerpts and focused on the complete short stories.
But as I said, there are many gems here. Particulary the Borges, Lethem, and Sacks stories stand out. If you read this with the understanding that most of the stories have nothing to do with the common perception of amnesia, it may be well worth your time.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Mmmm... yummy. 20 Jun. 2001
By David Myers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Are you worried that coughing up the bucks for an anthology will leave you with two or three gem stories and a pile of duds? Well don't worry this time, kids, Lethem delivers the goods. At least eight solid keepers in this one that I will certainly read again at some point. Overall, the theme works very well, and the variety of experiences (from creepy to wacky) is pretty wide. It's not all bumps on the head, waking up in white-walled rooms...
The Vintage Book of Amnesia 13 May 2013
By JOANN N MILLER - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this as a gift for my daughter-in-law. She had it listed on her Amazon Wish List. She was pleasantly surprised to get it. The Amazon Wish Lists certainly make it simple and easy to shop for my family, and for my family to shop for me.
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