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Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain
The Memory Artists

Library Journal
(Starred review)
January 2006

By Kevin Greczek, Ewing, NJ

Moore, Jeffrey. The Memory Artists.
Griffin: St. Martin's. Mar. 2006. c.336p.
ISBN 0-312-34925-4. pap. $13.95. F.


This exceptionally entertaining and clever second novel from the author of Red-Rose Chain deftly explores the intricacies of human memory while drawing a touching portrait of human relationships. Moore manages that rare combination of postmodern hyperintelligence, emotional insightfulness, and cutting humor. Noel Burun is a "hypermnesic synaesthete," or someone with a mind that connects a vast collection of fantastic colors to the voices he hears. He also possesses an extraordinary memory, one that enables him to recall almost instantly such obscure things as entire passages of Arabic poetry and complicated chemical formulas. Noel has decided to dedicate his entire life and mnemonic powers to the unlikely cause of finding a cure for Alzheimer's (his mother has it), in the process enlisting the help of three friends with their own memory issues: Norval, a modern-day Lord Byron and conniving Lothario; Samira, a former Hollywood actress with whom Noel is in love; and JJ, who deals with painful memories by regressing into a perpetual state of optimistic adolescence. If Moore's novel contains one flaw, it may be that it closes too abruptly, but that doesn't detract from its skillful balance of character study and intellectualism. Highly recommended for general fiction collections.

© Library Journal 2006 (US).