Sunday, 2 December 2012

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake - Aimee Bender

If you like magic realism, read on:    Rose is only nine when she discovers her "gift" - that she can taste other people's emotions by the food they prepare, and she discovers that her mother is deeply unhappy on the inside. Food becomes something that cannot be enjoyed unless it is produced in a factory, in which case there are no emotions. To have to struggle with this makes Rose's life uncomfortable, added to which she has a brother that disappears from time to time. When Rose's Mum's cooking no longer tastes sad, but has an impression of youth, pleasure and smiles, she realises that there must be a lover around. When Joseph her brother disappears nearly in front of her eyes, she begins to understand why he has always been withdrawn from the family, and at last, when she eats at a French restaurant that night, she finds food that tastes of joy and pleasure. It's a restaurant she returns to again and again, and eventually begins to work there twice a week. Its not until near the end of the book that we find out that Rose's paternal grandfather had a strange gift too, and her own father fears he also has one, hence his inability to ever enter a hospital. Finally, we find out what her brother's gift was.......