FROM REVIEWS OF AMNESIA
MICHIKO KAKUTANI, THE NEW YORK TIMES
Amnesia, Douglas' Cooper's chilly, chilling first novel, is one of those books that immediately make you think of dozens of other books. Its allusive narrative is filled with explicit references to Frankenstein, The Sea Gull, Hamlet, and the writings of Freud and Nietzsche, while its elliptical narrative style recalls works by D.M. Thomas, Paul Auster, Sam Shepard and Vladimir Nabokov...
The main storyteller in Amnesia - the Ancient Mariner, in a sense - is a strange, haunted man named Izzy Darlow, who turns up one day in a librarian's office. The librarian - an unnamed man, who has lost his earlier life to amnesia -- is on his way to his wedding; he is supposed to marry a woman he does not love. He will never get to the wedding; indeed, he will find his life transformed by Izzy's story...
One gradually comes to appreciate Mr. Cooper's copious gifts: his ability to manufacture odd, cinematic images; his talent for creating a musically patterned narrative out of repeated symbols and motifs; his willingness to tackle ambitious intellectual themes.
THE TORONTO STAR
The ritual style with its overt symbolism recalls the haunting incantations of Jean Genet. Cooper handles narrative symbolism even better than Margaret Atwood. His musing speculation invokes Beckett.
Douglas Cooper's first novel -- already a bestseller in Canada - has now made it to the US, and it's a very good thing. In the opening scene, the narrator is waiting alone in his archival library office, trying to relax before his wedding. A bedraggled young man named Izzy Darlow appears in the office with a story to tell. To tell more is to tell too much, but it is enough to remember "The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner": beware of strangers bearing stories. Cooper's writing will keep you reading late into the night. The richness of the tales -- of doomed love, place and memory, the disintegration of a family, and the search for identity -- reminds us that we are sometimes secrets even to ourselves. To Cooper, "the mind is like a city," and he is a masterful -- if sometimes frightening - guide.
A novel that is structurally complex (there's a narrator who has his own problems with women and memory), thematically wide-ranging (Freud, architecture, the corruption of the academy), more concerned with emotional states than traditional characters, and more reminiscent of, say, Thomas's White Hotel than Hart's Damage. Cooper's supple intelligence and crisp prose sustain the novel... a strong new talent.
THE MONTREAL GAZETTE
Superb... signals the arrival on the scene of a new and important writer... (His) literary antecedents are Italo Calvino and Milan Kundera.
BRITISH BOOK NEWS
Fame On the Way... reminiscent of the curious tales of Paul Auster.
THE AUSTIN CHRONICLE
Douglas Cooper's Amnesia is a compelling, obsessive nightmare of a debut novel -- Catcher in the Rye for a darker, more cynical age... The praises Cooper garnered compare him with cognoscenti favorites -- Ondaatje, Atwood, Kundera, Auster, Calvino, Nabokov, Genet, Beckett... and one freely admits there is much truth to the comparisons.
FROM REVIEWS OF DELIRIUM
THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
This is only Douglas Cooper's second novel -- "Amnesia," his first, came out in his native Canada in 1992 and here two years later -- but already he's working in what is recognizably Douglas Cooper territory.
...Even the most cartoonish of the characters in "Delirium" breathe, and their vitality is what makes the book such a page turner. Their stories wind through a convoluted, allusive narrative that's constantly pausing for reflections on architectural history, on urban planning, on the misuses of biography. This is an author who loves to show off, and his audacity is never less than entertaining.
... He invents an underground city of the dead and the disenfranchised that suggests the night visions in "The Crying of Lot 49"...
You come away from "Delirium" with the impression that it must have been as much fun to write as it is to read. Although you can argue about whether the book represents high or low art, it's clearly art.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL
Cooper may well be the writer to take us into the next millennium.
The desire of architecture to impose order, and the repercussions of artistic "overreaching," are given dramatic and often cryptic symbolic expression in this unusual second novel ("the first-ever to be serialized on the Web") from the Canadian-born Cooper, who's a comic-surrealist crossbreed of the late Lawrence Durrell and William S. Burroughs.
Slyly amusing, horrifying, moving and memorable, Delirium , the follow-up to Cooper's first novel -- the critically acclaimed Amnesia -- is a study of themes across time: greed, prostitution (in all its forms), the endless nature of choice, the origins of modern architecture, redemption and death. Cooper explores his themes through the eyes of many characters who seem to be living parallel lives. A former architecture student himself, Cooper's running commentary on the state of modern architecture is wickedly amusing and the narration, while sometimes abstruse, is fiercely compelling. A morality play which raises disturbing questions about the nature of greed, evil and even of modern architecture, Delirium is a spellbinding and shocking tale you won't soon forget.
MIKAL GILMORE (winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Shot in the Heart)
Douglas Cooper's Delirium is beautiful and frightening -- the most transfixing novel I've read in the last two years.
It is a story about lives and losses and cruelties -- about the tender moments of grace that can imbue history with both redemption and tragedy. It is a story about the terrible secrets that lie hidden in our hearts, and in the cities and structures that we move and live in. And it is a story about death, told by the only voice that can tell such a story truly -- the voice of a ghost that has looked upon time and ruin, atrocity and hope, murder and punishment, and that has learned the hardest of all lessons: how it is possible to make the unbearable truths of our lives finally endurable. There is horror buried at the center of this -- literally -- but that is hardly the only mystery or revelation buried within these pages. The book's greatest accomplishment is that by the time you finish reading it, it has built a sort of space of its own within your mind and memory -- a space that is wonderful, dreadful and utterly unforgettable.