Amnesia opens with Felix Moore’s conviction for libel. The Australian journalist has been ordered to destroy all copies of his most recent exposé, Pants on Fire. When Felix attempts to burn the books in a drunken rage, he accidentally sets his house on fire, causing his wife to kick him out. Felix is at the lowest point in his life when his good friend offers to bankroll his next book. Felix agrees to write about the notorious Gaby Baillieux, who allegedly created a computer virus that released prisoners from Australia’s jails. It is up to Felix to piece together Gaby’s story to convince the Australian public of Gaby’s innocence.
American readers may have trouble relating to Amnesia. Each character feels very strongly about Australian politics, and Felix, in particular, makes continual references to events that left this reader mystified. My lack of knowledge, combined with Australian slang and the drunken narrator’s unreliable voice, kept me confused and disoriented. I was also disappointed to finish the book without learning anything more about the virus or Gaby’s motivation for releasing it. Amnesia was billed as a thought-provoking political commentary, but I don’t think it addressed any of the questions raised on the book jacket.
Random House Canada