Amnesia by Peter Carey – Book Review


A cyber attack has happened that has released a whole heap of asylum seekers from their detention in Australia and (possibly inadvertently) opened the doors to a whole heap of prisons in the US, released some pretty nasty folks. Not that this gets more than a mention, to the point that I forgot about it. (Was that the intention – with Amnesia as the title?). Disgraced journalist Felix Moore, a drunken member of the establishment despite believing in his heart that he is not, is employed by old friend and unclear character Woody Townes to write the story of Gaby Baillieux, the girl who released the worm that caused the problems. Felix ends up trapped in a series of remote places out of contact with everyone listening to tapes recorded by Gaby and her mother, actress Celine, transcribing the story of Gaby’s awakening into political protest and her love affair with a strange classmate.

I don’t get it at all. I feel like there is a really interesting story in here, but I don’t get why Carey has shaped it the way he has. It felt like the actions of a teenager, being wrenched to all sides by the various different people in her life being told from the perspective of an entitled, middle-class white man, and I felt there was important stuff left out. Plus, the connections between the story being told and the original attacks were weak and I struggled to care about why the story was being told. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people love it – I haven’t read any Carey for a while, and I have generally loved his work. But… this one is just not for me.

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