Sarah Van Arsdale Toward Amnesia

ISBN 13: 9781573220170

Toward Amnesia

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9781573220170: Toward Amnesia
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Devastated after her lesbian lover leaves her, a research scientist clears out her home and moves across the country, where she adopts an alien persona and practices "amnesia exercises" in order to wipe out the memories of her past. A first novel.

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From Publishers Weekly:

With unerring emotional clarity, Van Arsdale, in a poetic first novel, charts a woman's search for the land of amnesia, "where memory plagues no one," in the aftermath of her abandonment by the most important woman in her life, her lover and best friend. When it becomes clear that Libby has no plans to return home, and she tires of having to "explain again that feeling of having all the air forced from my lungs," the nameless protagonist, a research biologist, decides to walk out of her own life. She stores away in her attic in Durham, N.C., all of the mementos of her years with Libby, packs a couple of bags, cleans out her bank accounts, trades in her Toyota for a 1950 Chevy Bel-Air and drives off. Stopping along the way in a library, she finds in a medical reference the condition she hopes to induce. "And maybe it wouldn't have to be transient," she thinks. Eventually she heads the old Bel-Air north and west, aiming for a nameless island in a lake near the Canadian border. Here, she rents a cottage, renames herself "Virginia," cuts her hair and practices her amnesia exercises-which include learning to write with her left hand and drinking her coffee black. Her quest for oblivion is hampered by memories evoked by grocery stores, canoes and birthdays until, one day, Virginia suddenly realizes that she no longer has to work at it. Practical-minded readers will be troubled at first by such issues as mortgages and bills unpaid, by unforwarded mail and families left behind, but few will long remain immune to this telling of a fantasy entertained at one time or another by anyone who has ever felt the urge to flee in the face of pain.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

Breaking up is easy to do. Accepting the breakup is the hard part. That is what the narrator in Toward Amnesia discovers when her girlfriend of five years leaves her for another woman. Increasingly obsessive, she drives by her ex's house every day to see whose car is in the driveway. She's most definitely in a rut?until she reads about transient global amnesia in a medical text. This is her way to get over the breakup and restore her confidence. She grabs onto amnesia with gusto and determination, shedding her old self like a cocoon and taking on a new identity and new habits. She empties her own and the joint savings accounts, buys a 1950 Chevy, and hits the open road. After a lot of driving and camping under the stars, the narrator ferries over to a tiny Canadian island, where she rents a cottage, finds work scraping boat hulls, and constantly works on the amnesia "exercises" of immersing herself in deep water for healing. This first novel by a poet who has been published in several anthologies and journals is an allegory of losing oneself in order to find one's inner core. It's also part road novel, part guided tour to the fish slicing through clear blue lakes, wildflowers, the edge of the sea, the night sky, and the orbit of the planets. Van Arsdale's descriptions of the natural environment are enchanting but not too flowery. Public libraries will want to add this one to their fiction shelves.?Lisa Nussbaum, Euclid P.L., Ohio
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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9781573225779: Toward Amnesia

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ISBN 10:  1573225770 ISBN 13:  9781573225779
Publisher: Riverhead Trade, 1997
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9789996232459: Toward Amnesia

Riverh..., 1995
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