Amnesia by Peter Carey - review by James Purdon

James Purdon

Tape Measures



Faber & Faber 377pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

The exemplary creative writers of our time – we may as well admit it – are not the novelists but the computer coders. As algorithms and subroutines have become the infrastructure of our daily digital lives, the writers of code have fulfilled the novelist’s dream, building alternate worlds out of language. Does it matter that the languages in question happen to be Java and Python rather than English or Spanish? Like the Knight of the Rueful Countenance, we are all now part-time inhabitants of spaces fabricated by writing, virtual worlds that shape our sense of reality as surely as Amadis de Gaula and Feliciano de Silva shaped Don Quixote’s.

Peter Carey’s narrators have always been first-rate fabricators and inventors of inviting fictions. In Amnesia the role falls to Felix Moore, a boozy Sydney journalist whose obsessive left-wing crusades have earned him the nickname Felix ‘Moore-or-less-correct’. Having just lost an expensive defamation suit, Felix is in no position to refuse

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