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Confessions of a Memory Eater

The New Novel by Pagan Kennedy

 

What if One Pill Could Enable You to Totally Relive the Most Incredible Memories of Your Life?

Would You Take It? What Would You Do To Get It?

In Pagan Kennedy’s First Novel Since The Exes, She Invents the World’s Most Seductive Designer Drug and Explores our Craving for the Perfect Past

"The Proust Pill" in The Boston Globe 6/25/06 - Pagan's Essay About the Writing of Confessions

Memories of You in The Boston Phoenix 6/27/06 - Feature Story about Confessions

Entertainment Weekly Review of Confessions - A Must Read Summer Pic!

The Pornography of Pharmacology - Pagan Kennedy on Drugs, Memory and the Lure of Nostalgia

“In her absorbing and timely novel Confessions of a Memory Eater, Pagan Kennedy explores love, addiction, and memory in the pharmaceutical age… In fewer than 200 pages, Confessions packs an allegorical wallop.”

Entertainment Weekly A ‘Must Read for Summer ‘06’ Full Page Feature Review


“Pagan Kennedy charges into the future with impressive dexterity… Confessions of a Memory Eater is just a moving portrait of mankind’s chronic and untreatable case of folly.”

—New York Times Book Review


"What Kennedy has written is a provocative novel, fast-paced and delicious."
Newsday

"Confessions of a Memory Eater, by Pagan Kennedy is the perfect distillation of a midlife crisis, except it's a hundred times more fun and entertaining than that sounds. A former academic wunderkind, Win Duncan discovers a drug that allows you to relive any memory as if it were happening right now. But the drug, mem, works better if you take it with someone else who shares the same memory. Nostalgia becomes a consumer item for a cast of characters who are less than the sum of their pasts. Give this book to your friends and they'll be way more interesting to talk to afterward."

San Francisco Bay Guardian


"Pagan Kennedy, a '90s 'zinequeen turned novelist, ventures into a surreal genre of time travel, addiction, and midlife crises in her new novel Confessions of a Memory Eater [which] succeeds in being both a quick, suspenseful read and a more thoughtful probe into what exactly we fear we lose with age… Confessions of a Memory Eater nudges readers to explore their own troves."

Boldtype.com

“Telling, wistful and heartbreaking . . . Kennedy's narrative packs such a wrenching emotional punch.”

— Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Kennedy turns in a surprisingly bittersweet novel with science fiction overtones and a delicious premise… [Her] easy style masks a fierce intelligence and painstaking artistry in this melancholy midlife crisis-with-a-twist. ”

Publishers Weekly

"I've been dreaming of the pill that would take me back to Halloween '94, when I made out with the hottest guy in the universe. Pagan's novel takes that idea —a pharmaceutical called Mem— and runs with it. The story is a total mind melt-down that kept me reading even though I was distracted thinking about that amazing night..."

--JANE, June/July  '06


“Eschewing TV’s manipulative cheap tricks, Kennedy invents a drug that allows people to access memories and refeel them, in the process raising larger questions about identity. Who (or perhaps when) is your true self? Is the realest you the one who lives in the present moment? Or is it the person you once were, at eight, at 27?... Think of it as a kind of future non-fiction — it’s fiction now, but maybe not for long. In the meantime, she dramatizes the elements of time, memory, and identity in all their fluid dynamics.”

—The Boston Phoenix

“The memory-enhancing pill at the center of Pagan Kennedy’s new novel works like Proust’s madeleine in overdrive: It doesn’t just pave the way to relaxed reverie but allows people to relive, in detail, any past experience that they choose. That’s an enticing concept for nostalgia junkies, but as Confessions of a Memory Eater reveals, the rewards of such a drug are inevitably trumped by its perils. …With a mixture of wit and emotional honesty, fizzy prose and Technicolor descriptive passages, the premise of Confessions may be pulpy, but it makes a memorable point: The pleasures of youth should have an expiration date.”

Time Out New York


What if you could return to the most delicious moments of your past and live inside them again with crystal clarity? What if you could decide to simply pop a pill and leave the difficulty of the present for a time of your choosing? The day you aced an impossible performance or heard the words “I love you” from someone you adore. Would you hold your baby in your arms again for the first time? Or visit with a loved one who died? What if your relationship was falling apart? Would you choose to relive those first few weeks of outrageous passion with your lover?

What if you were diagnosed with a fatal disease? And what if there was a drug that enabled you, instead of spending your last days on earth surrounded by well-meaning relatives, to escape, to travel back to the time you were strongest in your life? Would you take the drug? What would you do to get it?

Pagan Kennedy has been described as a ‘modern-day Chekhov’ and ‘the Queen of the ‘Zines’ (San Francisco Chronicle). Fascinated by pop culture and alternative lifestyles, she’s the highly acclaimed author of Platforms: A Micro-waved Cultural Chronicle of the 1970’s, Pagan Kennedy’s Living: A Handbook for Maturing Hippies, and Spinsters, the story of two road-tripping spinster sisters out to discover themselves.

"What Nick Hornby did for the insufferable record geek in High Fidelity, Kennedy does for the touring rock musician,” said Salon.com about The Exes, Pagan Kennedy’s last novel, a hip and hilarious tour of the indie rock scene. She returns to fiction for the first time in eight years with Confessions of a Memory Eater, in which she imagines the most seductive designer drug ever created.

The story: Once a brilliant historian with a promising academic future, Win Duncan is at a cross roads in his career (and his marriage) when he is mysteriously summoned by Litminov, a wild but brilliant outlaw he knew in grad school at Columbia. Litminov has made millions since, and has bought a pharmaceutical company solely to develop Mem, an experimental drug that gives the user the ability to live inside one’s memories with crystal clarity. Duncan becomes a beta tester and loses himself to the most delicious moments of his past — until he finds that the present pales by comparison.

A proven master of underground literature, beat fiction, and narrative nonfiction, Pagan Kennedy takes on America's obsession with the idealized past with freshness, wit, and an uncanny ability to measure the pulse of postmodern culture.


"Complicated, cool and vulnerable at the same time. . . you can't help falling for Pagan Kennedy's characters."

— Stephen Dubner, Author of Freakonomics, from The New York Times Book Review


"Kennedy (Spinsters ) turns in a surprisingly bittersweet novel with science fiction overtones and a delicious premise: what if you could relive your past-highlights only- Win Duncan, a history professor at a small New Hampshire college, gets the opportunity when old college buddy Phil Litminov, now a hotshot entrepreneur and maverick investor, calls with a vague but enthusiastic offer to help test a new drug called Mem. Burned out at 40 and drifting away from his wife, Edie, Win's only passion is a book he's writing about Thomas De Quincey, the infamous author ofConfessions of an English Opium Eater. But even this passion is fading and easily outweighed by the desire to revisit his days of Columbia grad school stardom. Mem turns out to be more than Win expects, and the plot thickens with Phil's disappearance, the threatened disintegration of Win's marriage and a hookup with Phil's most wounded and vulnerable subject. Kennedy's easy style masks a fierce intelligence and painstaking artistry in this melancholy midlife crisis-with-a-twist."

—Publishers Weekly

"A quirky, compelling idea along the lines of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."

—Kirkus Reviews


“In a daring and fiercely imaginative new novel, Pagan Kennedy offers our over-medicated nation the enticing miracle cure we yearn for. Kennedy has created a pretty little pill for the Prozac generation. A bottled reverie, the taste of youth preserved in a jar, it catapults us back to the past, to a childhood idyll by the shore. Like the book itself, the drug is seductive, addictive, and - maybe - dangerous. Richly layered, told in Kennedy's elegant prose, Confessions of a Memory Eater is impossible to resist.” Lisa Dierbeck, Author of One Pill Makes You Smaller

“Pagan has composed a terse monograph on the failure of mind altering drugs (legal or illegal) to overcome the horror many feel for the present. With sci-fi liberties she titillates us with a drug that returns us to our past. While such therapy calls us to come to grips with the past, Mem offers glory. Thankfully she does not romanticize the experience, but makes it a cautionary tale. Maybe she’s calling for one to make great memories in one’s present.”

—Patch Adams, MD


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Pagan Kennedy is the author of seven previous books in a variety of genres, including novels and non-fiction narratives. Her most recently published book, a biography titled Black Livingstone: A True Tale of Adventure in the 19th-Century Congo, made the New York Times Notable list of 2002.  A novel, Spinsters, was short-listed for the Orange Prize.  She also has been the recipient of a Barnes and Noble Discover Award and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction. As a journalist for the New York Times Magazine and Boston Globe Magazine, she has ridden in a car powered by vegetable oil, eaten sloppy Joes with the world's strongest woman, and toured a room that houses 3,000 human brains. In winter, 2007, Bloomsbury will be publishing The First Man-Made Man: The Story of Two Sex Changes, One Love Affair and a Twentieth Century Medical Revolution.

CATEGORY: Fiction
PAGES: 174
TRIM: 6 x 9
ISBN: 0-9728984-8-4
PRICE: $14.95 / Paperback Original

 

 

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