The Vintage Book of Amnesia (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) Paperback – 1 Dec 2000
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From the Inside Flap
Jonathan Lethem is perhaps our most active literary voice mining the genre margins of our culture. In this unique collection he creates an anthology that no one else could. He draws on the work of such unforgettables as Julio Cortazar, who presents a man caught between the ancient and modern worlds unable to say which is real; Philip K. Dick, who tells the story of a man trapped on a spaceship of the somnolent, unable to sleep and slowly losing his mind; Shirley Jackson, who takes us on a nightmarish trip across town with a young secretary; and Oliver Sacks, who presents us with an aging hippie who possesses no memory of anything that has taken place since the early seventies.
What Lethem has done is nothing less than define a new genre of literature-the amnesia story-and in the process he invites us to sit down, pick up the book, and begin to forget.
Also including: John Franklin Bardin, Donald Barthelme, Thomas M. Disch, Karn Joy Fowler, David Grand, Anna Kavan, Haruki Murakami, Flann O'Brien, Edmund White, and many others.
About the Author
Jonathan Lethem lives in Brooklyn, New York.Motherless Brooklyn is coming from Vintage in Fall 2000."
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.