Friday, July 2, 2010
Right now I'm finishing up The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. What intrigued me was the premise: Rose, an ordinary young girl, suddenly begins tasting in her food the emotions and hidden secrets of the person who made it. The novel is set into motion with Rose's shuddering at her mother's desperate sadness after dipping into the lemon cake of the title, which she made for Rose's birthday. Later she correctly intuits her infidelity because, after years of empty-feeling dishes, she suddenly bites into an uncharacteristically hopeful and sunny forkful of dinner.
Bender's spare but evocative language kept me highlighting passages and descriptions on my iPad: Of Rose's father: "He always seemed a little like a guest to me." Of the school nurse:"She was the chaperone of broken bones." Most telling, of her mother, who clearly favored her son: "She was the best with activities: I cherished this time with her, warmed like baby chicks by the orange-red coils of the wall heater." Bare-boned, gorgeous, sad.
Thank you for participating, David. Check back to see who answers the question next time and what other books are recommended.
Previous WAYR posts:
Tara Austen Weaver
Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan