Francie a huit ans quand la dépression de sa mère, Elaine, vient bouleverser à jamais son existence. Recueillie par son oncle et sa tante, Francie grandit entourée d'affection auprès de sa cousine Vicky. Malgré tout, elle vit une jeunesse singulière, détachée du réel, habitée par la peur de la folie. Mère et fille tracent dès lors leur chemin : l'une survit, l'autre se construit en s'efforçant de « ralentir le monde » et de sonder ses souvenirs d'enfance.
Mais comme toujours dans les romans d'Aimee Bender, la fantaisie règne : un insecte décorant un abat-jour prend vie puis s'échappe, une fleur brodée sur un rideau tombe au sol, bien palpable... L'imaginaire devient le lieu le plus propice à la découverte de vérités profondes.
Un papillon, un scarabée, une rose est avant tout le récit d'une transformation : du chaos au pardon, de l'incompréhension à la résilience.
Le jour de ses 9 ans, Rose mord avec délice dans son gâteau d'anniversaire. S'ensuit une incroyable révélation : elle ressent précisément le mal-être éprouvé par sa mère en le préparant. Car, dans sa famille, chacun dispose d'un pouvoir unique, qu'il doit taire ; pour ces super-héros du quotidien, ce don est un fardeau. Comment supporter le monde quand la moindre bouchée provoque un séisme intérieur ?
Mona, vingt ans, est une jeune fille déconcertante. Depuis dix ans, son père est atteint d'une terrible - et incroyable - maladie. Laquelle ? Nul ne le sait. Dès les premiers symptômes, il est devenu gris. Et la maison familiale, elle aussi, a perdu ses couleurs. Une vie en noir et blanc, s'agit-il d'une dépression ? Étrange. Comme la relation compulsive, poétique, et totalement irrationnelle, que Mona entretient avec les nombres.
Une riche héritière vêtue de satin pourpre suit un homme dans la rue ; une femme se demande comment vivre avec un mari dont la bouche n'est plus qu'une prothèse ; une autre regarde son amoureux régresser jusqu'à devenir une salamandre ; une bibliothécaire est prise d'un désir frénétique pour un hercule venu lui emprunter un livre ; une jeune fille tombe amoureuse de son oncle bossu...
Aimee Bender prête à ses héroïnes des pouvoirs et des désirs extravagants.
Drôles, tendres et sensuelles, ses histoires sont le résultat d'une singulière alchimie, loin de toute convention. Car elle a un art bien à elle de faire émerger les figures chimériques qui hantent notre littérature depuis la nuit des temps.
"pour cette fête, je me suis fixé un objectif : embrasser trois hommes ; un brun, un roux, un blond.
pas nécessairement dans cet ordre ", écrit aimee bender. mais aussi : "dix hommes se rendent chez dix médecins. tous les médecins disent à tous les hommes qu'il ne leur reste que deux semaines à vivre." et encore : "la tête de leur troisième bébé était en forme de fer à repasser. c'était un modèle argenté avec une poignée en plastique. quand il pleuvait, de la vapeur s'échappait de ses épaules." ou tout simplement : "ce garçon était né avec des doigts en forme de clé." baroques, sexy, inquiétants, ces quinze contes cruels montrent que la jeune littérature américaine sait aussi cultiver la fantaisie.
fille spirituelle d'italo calvino et de tim burton, aimee bender nous dépayse en quelques phrases.
Discovering in childhood a supernatural ability to taste the emotions of others in their cooking, Rose Edelstein grows up to regard food as a curse when it reveals everyone's secret realities. By the Pushcart-winning author of
When Mona Gray is ten, her father contracts a mysterious illness. His gradual withdrawal from everyday life marks a similar change in Mona, who removes herself from anything - or anyone - that might bring her happiness. Numbers provide a kind of solace, and help her make sense of the world: she counts words in her head, adds her steps, and multiplies people in the park against one another. As a maths teacher, Mona delights her pupils by encouraging them to find objects that take the form of numbers. But when seven-year-old Lisa appears with a zero that displays real turmoil, Mona knows that in order to help a person in pain, she needs to find a way to connect with the world she has been afraid of for so long.An Invisible Sign of My Own is a story about children and adults, and how we protect ourselves from the things we fear the most. It is about superstition and logic and the big muddy area in between. Written with the same eloquence and flair that characterisesThe Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, this novel marks the sign of a unique talent in contemporary fiction.
On the eve of her ninth birthday, Rose Edelstein bites into her mother's homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother's emotions in the slice. All at once her cheerful, can-do mother tastes of despair and desperation. Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes perilous. Anything can be revealed at any meal.Rose's gift forces her to confront the truth behind her family's emotions - her mother's sadness, her father's detachment and her brother's clash with the world. But as Rose grows up, she learns that there are some secrets even her taste buds cannot discern.The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is about the pain of loving those whom you know too much about, and the secrets that exist within every family. At once profound, funny, wise and sad, this is a novel to savour.
In Willful Creatures Aimee Bender takes us on a journey to a fantastical world in which authentic love blossoms. This is a place where a boy with keys for fingers is a hero, a family of pumpkin heads embrace their ironhead son and potato-children dotingly follow their mother around as she completes her daily chores. With the mix of charm and keenly felt emotion that characterised her New York Times bestseller The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Bender once again proves herself to be a masterful chronicler of the human condition.
In The Girl in the Flammable Skirt Aimee Bender has created a world where nothing is quite as it seems. From a man suffering from reverse evolution to a lonely wife who waits for her husband to return from war; to a small town where one girl has a hand made of fire and another has one made of ice. These stories of men and women whose lives are shaped and sometimes twisted by the power of extraordinary desires take us to a place far beyond the imagination.
The New York Times bestselling author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, a Richard and Judy bookclub pick, returns with a wonderful collection of enchanting, strange and magical stories.In this collection, Bender's unique talents sparkle brilliantly in stories about people searching for connection through love, sex and family - while navigating the often painful realities of their lives. A woman plays out a prostitution fantasy with her husband in 'The Red Ribbon' and finds she cannot go back to her old sex life. An ugly woman marries an ogre in 'The Devouring' and struggles to decide if she should stay with him after he mistakenly eats their children. 'Tiger Mending' follows two sisters who travel deep into Malaysia where one learns the art of mending tigers who have been ripped to shreds, and in the title story, 'The Color Master', a company of tailors endeavour to capture the colours of the sun, moon and sky.Evocative, funny, sad and beautifully written, The Color Master cements Aimee Bender's reputation as one of the most imaginative and exciting writers of our time.
A Vintage Shorts “Short Story Month” Selection
The old man and the old woman always dreamed the same dreams. Everyone in Celia’s town knows the couple, married sixty years, with wrinkled skin down to their wrists--but one summer, while Celia takes care of her father, refusing to join her mother on the next leg of their concentration camp museum tour, the old man and the old woman start prophesying, and the town is forever changed.
“Dreaming in Polish” invites the reader to look at the world through Aimee Bender’s unique funhouse vision, a world twisted on its axis yet as gloriously tangible as real life. A selection from her debut collection The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, hailed by the New York Times and Los Angeles Times as one of the best books of the year.
An eBook short.
A grief-stricken librarian decides to have sex with every man who enters her library. A half-mad, unbearably beautiful heiress follows a strange man home, seeking total sexual abandon: He only wants to watch game shows. A woman falls in love with a hunchback; when his deformity turns out to be a prosthesis, she leaves him. A wife whose husband has just returned from the war struggles with the heartrending question: Can she still love a man who has no lips?
Aimee Bender's stories portray a world twisted on its axis, a place of unconvention that resembles nothing so much as real life, in all its grotesque, beautiful glory. From the first line of each tale she lets us know she is telling a story, but the moral is never quite what we expect. Bender's prose is glorious: musical and colloquial, inimitable and heartrending.
Here are stories of men and women whose lives are shaped--and sometimes twisted--by the power of extraordinary desires, erotic and otherwise. The Girl in the Flammable Skirt is the debut of a major American writer.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
What would you write if no one knew who you were?
In the spirit of the demolition derby, where drivers take heedless risks with reckless abandon, welcome to the first convocation of the Secret Society of Demolition Writers. Here is a one-of-a-kind collection by famous authors writing anonymously-and dangerously. With the usual concerns about reputations and renown cast aside, these twelve daredevils have each contributed an extreme, no-holds-barred unsigned story, each shining as brightly and urgently as hazard lights.
Unconventional and unapologetic, this publishing equivalent of a whodunit features an eclectic group of fictional characters, including a delusional schizophrenic narrator, an egg donor with second thoughts about her decision, a pharmacist who forms a weird crush on a woman who beat both of her parents to death, and a little girl who understands that an old safe is the threshold to another, ghostly, world. Equally diverse and surprising are the authors themselves: Aimee Bender, Benjamin Cheever, Michael Connelly, Sebastian Junger, Elizabeth McCracken, Rosie O'Donnell, Chris Offutt, Anna Quindlen, John Burnham Schwartz, Alice Sebold, Lauren Slater, and Marc Parent, the editor of the collection. Never before has such a wide-ranging and talented group of authors been assembled to such explosive and entertaining effect.
The Secret Society of Demolition Writers is an intriguing puzzle in itself, but it's also an important addition to the careers of some of our finest storytellers-even if we never really know who wrote what. Its boundary-smashing fiction offers exhilarating proof that for an artist, withholding your identity can mean gaining your freedom.
From the Hardcover edition.
Aimee Bender’s stunning debut collection, The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, proved her to be one of the freshest voices in American fiction. Now, in her first novel, she builds on that early promise.
Mona Gray was ten when her father contracted a mysterious illness and she became a quitter, abandoning each of her talents just as pleasure became intense. The only thing she can’t stop doing is math: She knocks on wood, adds her steps, and multiplies people in the park against one another. When Mona begins teaching math to secondgraders, she finds a ready audience. But the difficult and wonderful facts of life keep intruding. She finds herself drawn to the new science teacher, who has an unnerving way of seeing through her intricately built façade. Bender brilliantly directs her characters, giving them unexpected emotional depth and setting them in a calamitous world, both fancifully surreal and startlingly familiar.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Aimee Bender’s Willful Creatures conjures a fantastical world in which authentic love blooms. This is a place where a boy with keys for fingers is a hero, a woman’s children are potatoes, and a little boy with an iron for a head is born to a family of pumpkin heads. With her singular mix of surrealism, musical prose, and keenly felt emotion, Bender once again proves herself to be a masterful chronicler of the human condition.
BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Aimee Bender's The Color Master.