Neil Jordan Amnesiac: A Memoir


Code 9781035912971
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Binding: Paperback

Date Published: 20 Jun 2024

A haunted record of a life devoted to the visual art of the cinema and the written word, by Ireland's greatest director and one of her finest novelists.

In this vivid, moving and strange memoir, Neil Jordan - the author of classic fiction like The Past, Sunrise with Sea Monster and Night in Tunisia, and the creator of celebrated movies like Angel, Mona Lisa, The Crying Game and Interview with the Vampire - reaches deep into his own past and that of his family.

His mother was a painter, his father an inspector of schools who was visited by ghosts, and Jordan grew up on the edge of an abandoned aristocratic estate in north Dublin whose mysterious ruins fed his imagination.

Passionate about music, he played in bands and theatre groups and met, at University College Dublin, a young radical called Jim Sheridan. Together they staged unforgettable dramatic productions that hinted at their future careers.

His first collection of stories and first novel, Night in Tunisia and The Past, were met with acclaim, but Jordan was also drawn to the freedom and visual richness of film, and worked with the great English director John Boorman on his Arthurian epic Excalibur. His own first movie with Stephen Rea, Angel, was a brilliant angular take on the horrific violence of the Troubles, and in the years since then his films have combined in a unique way, intense supernatural elements with reflections on violence and sexuality.

Jordan describes his work with Stephen Rea, Jaye Davidson, Bob Hoskins, Tom Cruise and many others, but this is not a conventional story of life in the movies. The book is an eerie meditation on loss, love and creativity, on inspiration and influence, by one of the most unusual artists Ireland has produced.

About the Author

Neil Jordan is an Irish film director, screenwriter and author based in Dublin. His first book, Night in Tunisia, won a Somerset Maugham Award and the Guardian Fiction Prize in 1979. He is also a former winner of the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Irish PEN Award and the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award. Jordan's films include Angel, the Academy Award-winning The Crying Game, Michael Collins, The Butcher Boy and Interview with the Vampire.

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'Neil Jordan is unique in his success both as a fiction writer and a movie maker. In Amnesiac he looks back over his twin careers with a certain amused wonderment - how did he manage all that? The result is a fascinating record of private loves and losses, of public triumphs and lessons learned, in a narrative shaped by the hand of an artist. And yes, there is enough insider Hollywood lore to satisfy the hungriest picturegoer.'
- John Banville

'Amnesiac chronicles the life of a fascinating, ever-restless surgical mind - one appraised early on by Seán Ó Faoláin as akin to that of none other than James Joyce... Amnesiac is a galloping, scorching read - rich and nourishing in almost every way.'
- Patrick McCabe

'Neil Jordan is a maestro of word and image... Amnesiac is a memoir about belonging, about Hollywood, about fathers, and the power of the artist to shape who we are even in these wildly uncertain times. Beautifully crafted, revealing, with a deadpan honesty, Amnesiac is a book that stands at the coalface of our times.'
- Colum McCann

'It is impossible that the same man who can paint such surreal or super-real scenes in his movies can write like this... impossible.'
- Bono, U2


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