The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

There are certain novels that grab me because of their words.  In those novels, lines of text are lifted from their context and into my consciousness, only to pop in for a visit unexpectedly from time to time.  There are certain novels that grab me because of their stories.  I tend to read those novels in one sitting as quickly as I can, desperate to absorb their plot and then quickly forgetting most of the content when I finish.  And then there are those novels that are driven by an idea.  They are an experiment that we, as readers, consent to undertake.  We enjoy the text almost unwittingly, unsure of the ways we are being tested as we read through.  The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is an idea-novel whose wisdom goes unnoticed at first, like the first read of The Catcher in the Rye.  It tells the story of Rose, a girl who discovers on her ninth birthday that she can taste emotions in food, a 'talent' she is plagued by in a world that is constantly revealing too much to her.  The novel is deliberate in its restraint, and it isn't until the final page is done and the book is back on the shelf that you realize how much Bender has revealed to us.

This is a quick and rewarding read.  Lemon cake will never be the same again.


This novel was recommended by Jessica Soffer, author of Tomorrow There Will be Apricots and interviewed on the blog here.