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Description - The Amnesia Clinic by James Scudamore

Anti, a quiet English boy living in Quito, Ecuador, strikes up a friendship with flamboyant classmate Fabian, who is everything Anti isn't: handsome, athletic and popular. What's more, he lives with his rakish Uncle Suarez, while Anti is stuck in the dull ex-pat world inhabited by his parents. Suarez, a storyteller par excellence, infects the boys with his passion for outlandish tales, and before long their relationship becomes one conducted entirely through the telling of tales. One subject, however, is taboo: Fabian's parents. But when details surrounding their disappearance begin to emerge, Anti decides to console his friend with a story suggesting that Fabian's mother may be living at a bizarre hospital on the coast for patients with memory loss. With confused emotions and reality losing its tenuous grip, the boys embark on a quixotic voyage across Ecuador in search of an 'Amnesia Clinic' that may, or may not exist. The Amnesia Clinic won the Somerset Maugham Award and was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the Dylan Thomas Prize.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099494225
ISBN-10: 0099494221
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 129mm x 18mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 5-Apr-2007
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - The Amnesia Clinic by James Scudamore

US Kirkus Review » In this tragic coming-of-age tale, storytelling exalts, but also kills. Fifteen-year-old Fabian, spoiled, orphaned, rebellious and cute, is a fabulist given to spinning yarns about shaman ancestors. Anti, asthmatic and timorous, is enthralled. And given debut novelist Scudamore's narrative skill, so is the reader. Living with his surgeon uncle in 1990s Quito-home, according to Ecuadorian legend, of an Incan city in the clouds-Fabian's a raffish show-off, capable of tying "knots in a capuli stalk with his tongue"; he's also a charming liar. A born sidekick, Anti's an ex-pat in flight from drab England with his journalist father and his mother, a psychologist studying mestizo culture. He worships Ecuador and Fabian, so much so that his parents threaten to return him to England's duller, but more salubrious, air. Dazzling Fabian has his own sorrow; he weeps in secret over his parents. Drunk one night, he tells Anti of their demise: His father, after being gored in a bullfight, was being rushed to the hospital by his mother when the car crashed, his mother hurled from the wreck. Convinced she's still alive, Fabian enlists Anti to join him in a cross-country trek-a final Ecuadorian idyll for the Brit and a chance for Fabian to search for his mother, secluded, he believes, in an amnesia clinic in the hills. Teenage runaway fantasies ensue as the boys embark-Fabian's wild night in a brothel, Anti's spicy initiation into the ways of love courtesy of Sally Lightfoot, a hippie adventuress who's also a bounty hunter of whales. In an echo, perhaps a bit too reminiscent, of John Knowles's A Separate Peace, golden-boy Fabian ends up the victim of his desperate belief in the power of myth-making and tale-telling to compensate for the disappointments of real life.An effective blend of the magical and the creepy. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - James Scudamore

James Scudamore is the author of three novels. The Amnesia Clinic won the 2007 Somerset Maugham Award and was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the Dylan Thomas Prize. Heliopolis was longlisted for the 2009 Man Booker Prize. Wreaking is his most recent book.

Books By James Scudamore

Wreaking by James Scudamore
Paperback, July 2014
Heliopolis by James Scudamore
Paperback, February 2010