When I discover a good writer I like to pass along that information because there are so few of them around these days. This is not a “new discovery,” this fellow has been around a long time. Unfortunately, he is best known for a dumb mistake he made many years ago. His name is Clifford Irving. If that name touches your memory, Irving is the man who wrote the hoax autobiography of Howard Hughes. Yes, it was a big deal at the time. Irving went to jail for it, too. Which, I think, was overkill. Seems to me an apology and a fine would have been enough punishment. All he had to do to be legal was (in fine print) say his book was fiction. All of us use variations of actual events when we write fiction, even if we don’t admit it. We even steal from other writers, although if we are smart we don’t plagiarize. We just “adapt” their ideas using our own words. The secret is to only steal from good writers. The hard job is to ferret them out. They have become an endangered species. The story goes that people became afraid to even talk to Hemingway, because invariably their conversations would someday appear in the mouths of one of his “fictional” characters.
I haven’t stolen anything from Clifford Irving because he is too original. I have now read four of his books and I am highly impressed. The one I want to recommend (they are all good) is “I remember Amnesia.” Here Irving has the remarkable talent to write as if he is a super-intelligent 12 year old boy who fantasies how to save the fair maiden.
It really is a remarkable piece of literature, and I don’t toss that word around lightly. The angst, the battle with parents, the growing pains, the urge to do something good, everything that most males can remember from their pre-teen years is all in there. And woven in an intricate and delightfully intriguing way. It is as good as any mystery you have read, it has tricks and turns on almost every page. And it is an original plot that I have never seen before. It is Romeo and Juliet dressed up in modern prose. I don’t believe a writer of lesser quality could pull it off. If you want a page-turner that is world’s apart from the formula trash out there today, read “I remember Amnesia,” and tell me what you think of it.