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The Amnesia Clinic

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  189 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Anti, a quiet English boy living in Quito, Ecuador, strikes up a friendship with flamboyant classmate Fabián, 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 outl ...more
Published April 5th 2007 by Vintage (first published April 5th 2006)
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Jan 07, 2016 Margo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable listen despite very slow narration speed.

This story is a fictional travelogue detailing two 15 year old boys journeying through Equador in search of The Amnesia Clinic - a kind of refuge for those with no memory of their previous lives and no other place to go.

This book contains much colourful description and, what certainly sounded to be, authentic local detail (I stand ready for correction on that having never been to Equador!)

Very original and surprising tale of dubious morality
Natalie Awdry
Jun 16, 2015 Natalie Awdry rated it liked it
I have read James Scudamore before and loved his writing. I have found his pace and excitement very engaging but I feel like The Amnesia Clinic just missed the mark. While the story itself was an interesting narrative, it felt obvious what was going to happen through the tale (until the end) and it wasn't as fast-paced as I would have liked.

The ending did surprise me and I did "enjoy" it but I felt that, up until that point, everything else was expected and the book trundled along in the direct
Oct 26, 2008 Annet rated it really liked it
Wow, what a wonderful book and what a talented writer! I loved it, the story is so intriguing and at times weird and tragic, fascinating, descriptions of the various characters in the story and Equador and the city of Quito surroundings are fabulous and beautiful. It's a story about a British boy (15) Anti living in Equador with his expat parents, quiet father and sort of dominant mother living an expat life. Anti befriends Fabian at school, an Equadorian boy who lives with his uncle Suarez (gre ...more
Kathleen Dixon
Jan 03, 2012 Kathleen Dixon rated it liked it
I've always liked a reason to read something that I wouldn't normally, and my "amnesia" research is giving me that opportunity. I used to satisfy the urge by having Library Challenges with my daughter, where, for example, we'd go through the alphabet by authors and weren't allowed to skip a letter out even if there was nothing that looked appealing. And so on with some much more inventive challenges. Now she has 3 small children and no time for that kind of game, which is a little sad.

I've just
Jan 31, 2011 Leah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The story is about two 15 year old boys who are friends. Anti tells us the story in retrospect, a short amount of time after the events he describes have happened. It is set pretty much in the present day. He is English, living a polite existence in an ex-pat bubble, quiet and a little unsure of himself. He becomes friends with Fabian at school, an adventurous and charismatic boy who lives with his unconventional uncle after the death of his parents. The two of them live on stories that they tel ...more
Kaite Stover
Feb 12, 2012 Kaite Stover rated it really liked it
Anti and Fabian are unlikely friends in Quito, Ecuador who share a love for outlandish storytelling and yearn to "discover" something remarkable. While they talk about everything, one subject goes unmentioned--the deaths of Fabian's parents. One night, after too much tequila, Favian spins the tale of his parents' demise. Anti, sympathetic, yet disbelieving, crafts a false newspaper story to demonstrate his support for Fabian and the fictions that help him get through this tragedy. However, Fabia ...more
Sep 30, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This adult novel definitely kept my interest and I was surprised at the ending. Two fifteen-year-old boys are friends growing up in Ecuador. That alone makes the novel different. Anti is the white outsider while Fabian is the outrageous local boy who lives with his eccentric, rich uncle. Storytelling is a central theme of this novel. The uncle can really spin a tale and the two boys eat up every word. Fabian can really tell a tale, too, and at the end of the novel, Anti is pretty good, too. I re ...more
Dec 29, 2014 Cara rated it really liked it
Scudamore's prose is as majestic and lush as the Ecuadorian landscape he describes in The Amnesia Clinic. Details both gorgeous and gritty are relayed with equal linguistic delicacy. Nostalgia infuses the pages of this novel, both for Ecuadorian culture and for the carefree life of boyhood. Ultimately, The Amnesia Clinic illuminates the power of nostalgia, and it's potentially dangerous grip on our perception of reality.
Liz Luff
Sep 22, 2016 Liz Luff rated it really liked it
This was a great and fantastical read! Some of the scenes, such as flying into Quito, driving through the mountains, drinking Pilsner and getting a chicken foot in your chicken soup with plantains reminded me heavily of my own time spent in Ecuador! Gracias, James Scudamore
Kathy Doll
Mar 02, 2016 Kathy Doll rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of great writing
'Sometimes it doesn't hurt to let people believe what they want to believe', says Uncle Suarez.

I loved this so much, I am walking around with a bit of a glow on this morning. 2 teenage boys go on a journey of discovery in modern day Ecuador. Their relationship is so wonderfully painted and drawn out. From the banal subdivisions for expats in Quito, to exotic mountains and beaches, many stories are told between them, but what is real and what is invented?

5 stars you say? Absolutely. I couldn't pu
Jan 19, 2016 Kathy rated it really liked it
Very much enjoyed this story. More of a young adult book, which I read frequently.
This took place in Quito, Ecuador where I hoped to have visited this fall. This book took its place.
Aug 08, 2010 LizG rated it really liked it
Imaginative story, light read, characters who drew me in, lyrical prose. I was whisked away to South America, envisioning each scene without the need for flowery descriptions. I am encouraged to leave behind a strictly literal view of life's events and allow a more creative interpretation that appreciates the magic of life. Facts and figures are, after all, rather mundane. Do we really need to see ALL of life strictly in those terms? Calls to mind a certain reminiscence of The Life of Pi.
Mar 15, 2014 Margaret rated it really liked it
Style of writing and location of story (sth america) same as his book Heliopolis. Both at least 4 star books.
When i'm reading his books i can 'see' the story, visualise the scenes and scenery and action, remaining engrossed in the themes, characters and personalities
I've already got his latest and only other book set in the UK. Hoping it's a treat when i've finished my current book
Rula Zein-Iddin
Although this book gets off to a slow & often complicated really is worth pursuing.

The author is very talented at given different spins on each story to unravel an even more complex web of truth.

Fascinating details are included...not least of which includes shrunken heads & decomposing whales. Quite an adventure.
Mar 22, 2011 Bobbi rated it liked it
this was good kinda "the beach-ish".

plays with the reliability of the narrator, how memory toys with our version of events, perspective... all things i'm very interested in, in writing and life.

so, i enjoyed it, but it did lack something to fuse my emotions to it. something in the writing held me at length a little as a reader.
Apr 14, 2012 Kristin rated it really liked it
A really lovely tale about tall tales and their importance in the lives of those that need them to survive. It was also a fascinating look at Ecuador in the 90s and the British expat experience there. Though the narrator is a teenager, it doesn't have that saccharin sweet quality so many YA books or even books about teenagers have.
Richard Janzen
Jul 27, 2011 Richard Janzen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating book somewhat in the vein of Garcia Marquez...the use of "magical realism"-type elements makes you totally unsure of what parts of the plot and the story-telling of the characters are real or imagined. Interesting read.

Jun 07
I picked this up on a whim at a fire sale ($1!), and I'm really glad I did. I struggled to get started, but in the end it was a very well-executed commentary on the power of story-telling to shape (and avoid) memory.
Jun 15, 2013 Amelia rated it liked it
i got tired while reading this book,it's interesting,but very long and i got bored. and there's one more reason for it,i expected it to be more about amnesia clinic,but it dissapointed me.but mostly the book is great.
Mar 14, 2013 Amie rated it really liked it
A lovely story that's different and unexpected. I would enjoy re-reading this in a few years and expect it would be just as lovely. It's written well and i think the author pulled it off wonderfully.
Apr 28, 2012 Brenda rated it really liked it
very imaginative storytelling. There were many unexpected twists & turns in the plot....amazing writing for a debut novelist. I look forward to reading more by Scudamore.
Aug 06, 2008 Teen rated it really liked it
Shelves: audience-adult
Two boys trek across Ecuador in search of an Amnesia Clinic that may or may not exist in a world where truth is stranger than fiction.
Taking a while to get into it. Only sticking with it because a friend said it was good (and because I hate to give up on a book).
Jul 03, 2012 Patty rated it it was ok
Well, I must have amnesia myself, because I found this coming-of-age-teen-boy-adventure story fairly forgettable.
Oct 07, 2010 Clare rated it it was amazing
Absolutely love this book. Definitely my favourite. I read it and re-read it a million times over.
Tom Dunsdon
Oct 01, 2012 Tom Dunsdon rated it really liked it
Arvena rated it really liked it
Aug 27, 2016
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James Scudamore is the author of three novels. His first, The Amnesia Clinic, won the 2007 Somerset Maugham Award and was shortlisted for four other prizes, including the Costa First Novel Award and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. His second, Heliopolis, was longlisted for the 2009 Man Booker Prize. Wreaking is his most recent book.
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