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Jonathan Lethem: Amnesia Moon

Having written a sci-fi mystery, Lethem now gives us a post-apocalyptic novel. It’s been done better – many times. The publisher’s blurb calls it Wizard of Oz remade as road noir. Well, it ain’t Wizard of Oz, which is charming, loveable and witty. Moon is none of those. And it certainly isn’t road noir, with only a little road and a little noir.

The story concerns Chaos/Everett, who like, many of the other participants, has forgotten about the war (or whatever it was) that destroyed civilisation as we know it. People live in other people’s dreams. (Yes, Jonathan, we’ve all read J G Ballard, who did it a whole lot better.) Chaos/Everett meets and takes care of the furry Melanie and heads first for Vacaville (a vacuous (pun intended) satirical representation of the pre-apocalyptic ‘burbs) and then for San Francisco where it seems he lived before the event and where he tries to retrace his existence with, amongst others, Gwen. Who cares? Not me. Finally Chaos/Everett dreams everybody back to a normal existence. As if it mattered.

Publishing history

First published 1995 by Harcourt Brace