Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Aimee Bender, THE PARTICULAR SADNESS OF LEMON CAKE
An unusual novel, about a girl named Rose who, beginning on her 9th birthday, can taste people's emotions in her food. So she can taste when her mother is depressed, angry, cannot choose which of her many talents to pursue, begins to have an affair. Her brilliant brother Joe also has an unusual talent--he turns into furniture and disappears. Near the end of the book, the father of this curious duo--whose own father wore a "strap" around his nose because he could smell things about people--admits to Rose the reason he cannot step into hospitals: because he senses that he might discover his special talent. She longs to drag him to a hospital, but he refuses. The book is thick with physical details (tastes, smells, sounds); the effect is strange, both real and allegorical, and I felt a lingering sadness after reading.