Frac­tured en­er­gies at the core

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - BOOKS -

An­drew Mee­han, New Is­land, €13.95

AM­NE­SIA sagas can of­ten tip into in­credulity in terms of how much the pro­tag­o­nist has car­ried for­ward with them from their pre­vi­ous in­car­na­tion. An­drew Mee­han, a for­mer head of de­vel­op­ment at the Ir­ish Film Board, breathes new life into this sub­genre in his de­but novel by in­ject­ing hu­mour and self-ef­face­ment into the ex­is­ten­tial rid­dle.

For a change, our am­ne­siac feels like a real en­tity rather than a ci­pher for a bit of neb­u­lous in­trigue.

The set­ting is Paris, par­tic­u­larly the 11th ar­rondisse­ment, a hive of al­ley­ways and squares that is suit­ably be­guil­ing in it­self. Here, an Ir­ish girl comes toin a restau­rant dressed for work as the kitchen porter.

She has no mem­ory of how she came to be there. She has very lit­tle sense of her­self or much in the way of what her predilec­tions may be.

She knows that she is Ir­ish from her ac­cent and quickly works out what kinds of food seem to suit her pal­ette. As if merely re­cov­er­ing from a lost week­end, she ini­tially seems

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