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Oblivion

by Peter Abrahams

Oblivion by Peter Abrahams X
Oblivion by Peter Abrahams
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2005, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2006, 384 pages

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'Marvelous...classically suspenseful and completely fresh. Grade: A.' Thriller

From the book jacket: What determines your identity? When Nick Petrov wakes up in a hospital room, his clothes are two sizes too big. Everyone treats him like a victim. And he can't remember how he got there in the first place. Petrov is a brilliant private investigator with a reputation for bringing missing children safely home so when he awakes in a hospital bed, his memory of the past two weeks a complete blank, his personality altered, he is tempted to just put the trauma behind him and move on with his life, but there are too many things holding him back. When he returns home, he discovers a photograph full of strangers. In his office is a greeting card with a cryptic message inside, both the receiver and the sender completely unknown. His bank account has been augmented by a $450 check from a woman he can't remember. All of it points to a case he cannot recall. Digging for answers when he doesn't even know the questions, Petrov begins to fear he is searching for the most elusive quarry he has ever hunted: himself.

Comment: Nick Petrov suffers from glioblastoma multiform, a rapid growing brain tumor that puts pressure on the brain, resulting in a range of possible symptoms from headaches, speech impairment, loss of short-term memory, personality changes, seizures and weakness. However, unlike other books, mainly non-fiction, such as Oliver Sack's The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat, Oblivion is written not from the observers point of view but from that of the person afflicted - a well-known private investigator, celebrated for his ability to find missing people who must battle his own memory loss whilst struggling to solve his latest case. As Joyce Carol Oates so eloquently puts it, 'Oblivion immerses us in Petrov's assailed consciousness as he navigates his way through a Dali landscape of baffling clues, memory lapses, and visual hallucinations..'

Dick Alder, writing in the Chicago Tribune, asks; "could it be because Abrahams makes it seem so natural and easy that not enough people recognize the effort and the talent at work in his books? His 14th novel, the stunning thriller Oblivion, should--in a perfect world--put an end to that."

A raft of other reviewers add their praise using superlatives such as 'marvelous', 'unforgettable', 'pitch-perfect prose' and 'first-rate'.

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in May 2005, and has been updated for the April 2006 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

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