I am being held captive by the most enchanting novel. I am enjoying it so much that I wanted to share. It is called The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. It is lilting in its beauty and profound in its concept. The narrator of our story is a nine year old named Rose.
Rose begins to taste emotion in food she consumes. Her first glimpse into this ability is when she tastes something unexpected in the birthday cake her mother has just baked for her. ” I could absolutely taste the chocolate, but in drifts and traces, in an unfurling, or an opening, it seemed that my mouth was also filling with the taste of smallness, the sensation of shrinking, of upset, tasting a distance I somehow knew was connected to my mother, tasting a crowded sense of her thinking, a spiral, like I could almost even taste the grit in her jaw that had created the headache that meant she had to take as many aspirin as were necessary, a white dotted line of them in a row on the nightstand like an ellipsis to her comment: I’m just going to lie down.”
The book reads as if you are an invited guest into the thoughts of this little girl. She speaks to you as if you are her only ally. As the book progresses Rose is able to identify the geographical location of the produce and meat that she consumes. She shares insights such as, “…the butter had been pulled from cows in pens, so the richness was not as full….” in a way that is so compelling that it feels reasonable and true. The story is as fascinating as it is sad. Bender is a weaver of words and phrases so eloquent that I have become lost in every page. I find myself reading lines and paragraphs over just to experience the feelings they conveyed for a second time.
I have not yet finished the book so I can’t tell you if the ending is satisfying or offers the type of closure you look for when you read a novel you adore. What I can tell you is that I have loved all 103 pages I have consumed and am wishing I could slow myself down to prolong this journey with Rose for a while longer.
Have a delicious day.
Here is a link to Aimee Bender’s site and this latest book: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
Cover image courtesy of IfYouWriteIt.com