We tried hard not to use the gawky cliché unputdownable, but there’s simply no better way to describe the excellent Sam Taylor novel The Amnesiac — which is a perfect beach/porch/backyard companion for these waning days of summer.
The book opens in Amsterdam, where Briton James Purdew has been holed up in his apartment with his girlfriend, Ingrid, after a leg injury. As their relationship deteriorates, James hears about an ex-girlfriend in passing, yet he has no recollection of this woman. So begins a journey back to England, where he tries to piece together a large swath of his life that has simply vanished from memory. Taylor uses myriad tricks — multiple narrators, tenses switching from past to present, details disgorged in reverse chronological order — but they never seem at odds with the fascinating subject and complex characters.
No spoilers here; we’ll just say that things really take a wild turn when James stumbles upon the 19th-century manuscript Confessions of a Killer.
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