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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.
Now available to preorder: Aimee Bender's new novel, The Butterfly Lampshade
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\n) 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. \n