10 August, 2013

Surreal

Aimee Bender

Judging by the picture on the front cover (a young girl holding some lemons) and Jodi Picoult's name endorsing it, i assumed when Abi lent it to me that this was going to be a (female oriented) juvenile such as she and Bailey used to read. Now, having finished, i'm not sure. Not sure at all, in fact, what category or genre it might fit into: There are elements of that juvenile (the protagonist/narrator is female and, for a large portion of the book, prepubescent or adolescent), to be sure; there are also pointers towards the adult (not least the themes of broken people and relationships); not only that, but also a strong current of the surreal which doesn't really aid in genre-assignment but certainly adds to the interest of the book. 

The first element of surrealism encountered is the ability of the narrator to taste the emotions of a cook in their products. Actually, it might be fairer to say, the inability of her not to taste their truest emotions and desires in anything they make. As interesting as this sounds, it is for her the most awful ability, as she does not have a happy home life and, in particular, her mother (chief cook) is lonely and sad to begin with, then guilty over an affair later. There are other surreal elements, not least the knack that her brother has of completely disappearing, at first for a few minutes while babysitting, later for days or weeks at a time. 

I'm glad i have read it, mostly for the oddity; the portrayal of characters is good, particularly the relationship, such as it is, between the narrator and her brother's best friend, which is perhaps the realest portion of the book.


1 comment:

S. R. Karfelt said...

This sounds AWESOME. I like to use that word a lot. It's a rule here in America. Say "Awesome" and we'll give you a pony.