Amnesiascope: A Novel

Erickson, Steve

Published by Henry Holt & Co, 1996
ISBN 10: 0805035036 / ISBN 13: 9780805035032
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Synopsis: At once Erickson's funniest and most intensely confessional novel, Amnesiascope edges Los Angeles up against the next millennium and into a vortex of fire. Anarchic, relentlessly eroticized, and ravaged by cataclysm, it is an ecstatic landscape of floating time zones and time-capsule cemeteries, beachside bunkers and ghost airports, Persian domes and towering telescopes that refract memory - a landscape overrun by abducted strippers, nomadic artists, reluctant pornographers, subversive newspaper columnists, alienated movie critics, teenage hookers afraid of the rain, and legendary film-makers who may or may not exist. "I love the ashes," writes the narrator. "I love driving across one black ring after another all the way to the sea, through the charred palisades. In this particular epoch, when sex is the last subversive act, I'm a guerilla, spending my conscience in a white stream that douses no fires but its own."

From Kirkus Reviews: The resident surrealist of L.A. (Arch D`X, 1993, etc.) uncorks a magnum of post-apocalyptic champagne: a long New Year's Eve of the Soul (sex, drugs, paranoia) that turns into a rather flat confessional about the life of a writer who bears more than a passing resemblance to the author himself. In previous novels, Erickson took a flier on a certain kind of sexy, psychedelic, futuristic surrealism, and this one starts no differently--in a Los Angeles post-Quake, post-Riot, post-New Paragons (a Gingrichian politician movement). For the first quarter of the book, we follow the narrator as he makes a hedonistic playground in the ruins of the city, which is ringed by nightly backfires--the ultimate Angeleno driving challenge. While out picking up strippers and gorgeous creatures of the night with sculptor-girlfriend Viv, he riffs incessantly in a Chandleresque voice. But, as the title hints, this is a story about memory, chiefly the narrator's recountings of countless couplings, sexual predations, and one lost love, Sally. At times this James Cain-like sexual heat is enough to drive a reader onward, and the author's intention to paint a portrait of L.A. through its women, ... la Durrell's Alexandria Quartet, is certainly a goal worth shooting for. But an abundance of tired subplots--will the editor of the narrator's hip newspaper be fired? what is the mystery about the impossibly lovely Jasper's father? will the little hooker ever move out of the narrator's apartment?--come off as sketches, their deadly flatness reeking of autobiography: ``Last time I caught a glimpse of my career as a novelist, before it disappeared altogether in the dark.'' Erickson is the Martha Stewart of decadence: When he's on, nobody does it better. But in this sortie, despite a number of classic riffs, he seems to be running short of material. Or perhaps it's just the competition provided by an increasingly surreal America. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Amnesiascope: A Novel
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co
Publication Date: 1996
Binding: Soft Cover
Book Condition: Fine
Edition: First Edition

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Erickson, Steve
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Book Description U.S.A.: Henry Holt & Co, 1996. Hardcover. Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. 1st Edition. NF/NF. First edition, first printing. 225 pp. Seller Inventory # 19140

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