The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

Aimee Bender, Author . Doubleday $25.95 (292p) ISBN 978-0-385-50112-5

Taking her very personal brand of pessimistic magical realism to new heights (or depths), Bender’s second novel (following An Invisible Sign of My Own ) careens splendidly through an obstacle course of pathological, fantastical neuroses. Bender’s narrator is young, needy Rose Edelstein, who can literally taste the emotions of whoever prepares her food, giving her unwanted insight into other people’s secret emotional lives—including her mother’s, whose lemon cake betrays a deep dissatisfaction. Rose’s father and brother also possess odd gifts, the implications of which Bender explores with a loving and detailed eye while following Rose from third grade through adulthood. Bender has been called a fabulist, but emerges as more a spelunker of the human soul; carefully burrowing through her characters’ layered disorders and abilities, Bender plumbs an emotionally crippled family with power and authenticity. Though Rose’s gift can seem superfluous at times, and Bender’s gustative insights don’t have the sensual potency readers might crave, this coming-of-age story makes a bittersweet dish, brimming with a zesty, beguiling talent. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/12/2010
Release date: 06/01/2010
Genre: Fiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-307-73716-8
Hardcover - 399 pages - 978-1-4104-3064-9
Paperback - 292 pages - 978-0-09-953827-1
Book - 978-0-307-44812-5
Paperback - 325 pages - 978-0-09-953826-4
Prebound-Glued - 292 pages - 978-1-61383-118-2
Paperback - 292 pages - 978-0-385-72096-0
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-385-53322-5
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4464-5710-8
Paperback - 392 pages - 978-89-6588-022-6
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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