By Jonathan Lethem
First Published: 1995
US Hardback Jacket Illustrated by: Alexander Mun
Review © 2009 by Stephen Roof
Genre: Science Fiction (Post-Apocalyptic), Literature
Amnesia Moon by Jonathan Lethem is a post apocalyptic road trip novel of discovery. However, this is not a straightforward road trip because reality has become much less stable. In fact, there seems to be some interaction between dreams and reality which sometimes makes it difficult to tell where dreams end and reality begins.
The main character, Chaos, suffers from bad dreams and amnesia. He’s stuck in a sick, isolated Wyoming town full of mutants who are running out of food. When he gets the chance, he takes off with a furry young girl on a trip to the West where he thinks he may have lived before the disaster. Between vast stretches of wastelands, he encounters strange radically different enclaves of civilization which seem to have locally altered realities.
Amnesia Moon is a strange kind of hypnotic book written in the vein of PKD. Technically speaking, the writing is excellent and absorbing. As Chaos struggles to find out about his past and to find an anchor for his reality he encounters all manner of strange people and bizarre situations. The descriptions pull the reader in and an extended session of reading this novel may bring you to a state of altered consciousness.If you’re looking for action and a tight plot, you’ll need to look elsewhere. If you don’t like novels with endings that leave a lot of loose ends, once again, you’ll need to look elsewhere. But, if you’re looking for some high quality writing about a road trip through the bizarre, this could be the ticket. Amnesia Moon is about the journey not the destination, and an interesting journey it is.