Amnesia Moon

( 4 )

Overview


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 ...

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Amnesia Moon

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Overview


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.

Since the war and the bombs, Hatfork is a sick town--full of mutants and sexual deviants. Chaos lives in the projection booth in the abandoned Multiplex, trying to remember his past. With a fur-covered girl named Melinda, Chaos sets out on a journey in pursuit of his missing identity. A stolen love will pull Chaos and Melinda deep into a kaleidoscope of broken reality.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

PRAISE FOR AMNESIA MOON
"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

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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. (Sept.)
Library Journal
A young man named Chaos sets out on a journey across a shattered America to search for the truth that lies behind his fragmented dreams. From Hatfork, Wyoming, a desert town populated by genetic mutants, to the Strip, where perpetual fast food establishments exist in a cultural vacuum, Chaos begins to piece together a history of the breakdown of reality. The author of Gun, with Occasional Music (LJ 2/15/94) embues his second novel with a breathtaking vision of a world in flux. Lethem's prose is as flexible and memorable as the evocative story he tells. Most libraries will want this foray into speculative fiction for their sf collections.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780156031547
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 8/1/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 788,980
  • Product dimensions: 7.72 (w) x 11.04 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan  Lethem

JONATHAN LETHEM is the author of nine novels, including Motherless Brooklyn, The Fortress of Solitude, and Gun, with Occasional Music. Dissident Gardens is his most recent novel.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Jonathan Allan Lethem (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      Left Bennington College after two years

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2000

    brilliance at it's best

    Jonathan lethem once again defys the laws of genre by writing the most original masterpiece I have ever read. Confusion ensues when chaos realizes that his life is not exactly what it seems. Truth drowned out by falsetellings and theorys which make you think(sometihng you don't find in to many books these days). I had to read it twice.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 1999

    Creative new realities in textual form!

    Lethem's Amnesia Moon is a brilliant masterpiece which blinds its reader with textual supremacy rivaling that sought by a ten megaton nuclear blast. Like his earlier novel, Gun With Occasional Music, Lethem's Amnesia Moon focuses around a single 'tech noir' hero who sets off on a journey of expectacious wonderment which begins with the fact that Chaos realizes his own reality is simply a fragment which is part of a marvelous post-turn of the Mayan calendar world. Beginning in Hatfork, Wyoming, a town filled with post-apocalyptic mutants the novel takes a sharp turn towards an even more disasterous possible future when the characters realize that they border a green mist. Not simply a Deadlands:Hell on Earth type world, Lethem's myriad of post-apocalyptic realities take on a sort of rainbow like hue, especially when considered against his earlier work, Gun, with Occasional Music. Now Gun, as I like to refer to it, was a melodic masterpiece which, like the book Who Censored Roger Rabbit, deals with surrealistic animal intrusions from other realities beyond our perception and ken. BTW, has anybody noticed how much each of these plots seem to resemble most M:TA campaigns, especially since the journey of Chaos through a transformed neo-apocalyptic New West could easily be seen as the story of the awakening of a neophyte mage and Gun could be seen as about an individual who lives in a world in which out -of-control technologies spawned by the evil Pentex have pushed him to the brink of insanity and to a point where he and his musical gun are increasingly marginalized by the bio-technologically altered critters which surround him in his little world of Forgettol-induced amnesia and hallucinatory states. In fact, its easy sometimes to forget which Jonathan Lethem novel you're reading and drift back in time back into Gun while reading through one's first-print paperback copy of Amnesia Moon. In 1992, when Lethem first brought Gun out it was little noticed, except where I live, where for some reason it recieved widespread critical acclaim, especially from local booksellers in the area. In Amnesia Moon though, Lethem puts a techno spin, as it were, on what could otherwise be seen as a sort of retread concept. All in all, I would consider Amnesia Moon to be an excellent book and one well worth reading, particularly as it occupies an important place in the hallmarks of San Francisco underground literature and is well worth reading in both its hardback and paperback printings. BTW, I not only enjoyed Amnesia Moon, but I also enjoyed hanging out with Lethem on his chat group Head Space on Hotwired and this message is also intended all of you out there know that, centauri is back!

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    Posted August 26, 2010

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    Posted January 12, 2009

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