In Jonathan Lethem's wryly funny second novel, we meet a young man named Chaos, who's living in a movie theater in post-apocalyptic Wyoming, drinking alcohol, and eating food out of cans. It's an unusual and at times unbearable existence, but Chaos soon discovers that his post-nuclear reality may have no connection to the truth. So he takes to the road with a girl named Melinda in order to find answers.
As the pair travels through the United States, they find that, while each town has been affected differently by the mysterious source of the apocalypse, none of the people they meet can fill in their incomplete memories or answer their questions. Gradually, figures from Chaos's past, including some who appear only under the influence of intravenously administered drugs, make Chaos remember some of his forgotten life as a man named Moon.
©1995 Jonathan Lethem (P)2011 Recorded Books, LLC
"A hip, updated conflation of Harlan Ellison's A Boy and His Dog and Jim Thompson's The Alcoholics. Jonathan Lethem escorts us down an impossibly post-terminal Route 66, kicking and screaming and loving every minute of it." (Barry Gifford, author of Wild at Heart)
"An author to be reckoned with . . . A social critic, a sardonic satirist like the Walker Percy of Love in the Ruins. But with Amnesia Moon, Lethem slips out of the shadow of his predecessors to deliver a droll, downbeat vision that is both original and persuasive." (Newsweek)
But I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - J.D. Salinger ^(;,;)^
I've read a bunch of Lethem (and a lot of Philip K Dick), so for me this novel was just a mediocre, road trip, post-apocalpytic PKD remake*. IT had obvious direct PKD references and influences: Eye in the Sky & Dr. Bloodmoney & The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. PKD is the only one who should really try to be PKD**.
Later Lethem (Motherless Brooklyn & The Fortress of Solitude) & Chronic City) is more confident and sings with his own voice. This one apes and apes well at times, but leaves a lot of soul out of the narrative. Still, I can't demolish Amnesia Moon too hard despite the sometimes wispy narrative and repetitive set pieces because I see the latent talent in Lethem and just want more of HIS voice, more of HIS taint and HIS talent.
* And to be fair to Lethem, there are plenty of mediocre PKD novels out there too.
** Although I do appreciate how Lethem's love for PKD being is felt in his editing of The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick and The Philip K. Dick Collection.
I would recommend this for the ride. The story is told well, and Scott Sowers does an excellent job narrating. It's a little cerebral - keeping up with the intricate plot - but it is well worth it. It will keep you on the edge of your seat as you and the main character work on solving the puzzle of 'the disaster'. The ending was not satisfactory in my opinion, but who can agree on an ending. All in all it was a great book, and I would highly recommend.
Loved Lethem's Chronic City, but couldn't finish this. It's dystopian and wants the reader to work hard and figure out its world, but the story doesn't sufficiently reward the effort required IMO. Hard to comment on the reader because of the story.
This book is without a doubt the trippiest, weirdest, most mind-bending book I've read.
Only Philip K. Dick's UBIK is this confusing and ambiguous and weird and far-out.
I have not.
The most memorable character was the bad guy. You'll see why. I can't describe it.
It started out good, plot is a little confusing, not sure what the point was, if the character was experiencing a parallel universe or what, I kinda fastforwarded it towards the end cuz to me it just seemed to go on and on and on...
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