Thursday, September 26, 2013

Book Thoughts - The Color Master by Aimee Bender

The Color Master by Aimee Bender
published 8/31/13
240 pages

Synopsis from publisher -

In this collection, Bender’s unique talents sparkle brilliantly in stories about people searching for connection through love, sex, and family — while navigating the often painful realities of their lives. A traumatic event unfolds when a girl with flowing hair of golden wheat appears in an apple orchard, where a group of people await her. A woman plays out a prostitution fantasy with her husband and finds she cannot go back to her old sex life. An ugly woman marries an ogre and struggles to decide if she should stay with him after he mistakenly eats their children. Two sisters travel deep into Malaysia, where one learns the art of mending tigers who have been ripped to shreds.

My thoughts -

I remember the first time I read the ACTUAL story of Cinderella - not the Disney version, but the Grimms tale where the stepsisters have to chop off parts of their feet to try on the slipper - and thinking, Wow. This story took a turn I didn't expect.

I felt very similarly about most of the stories in this collection. I would be reading along, thinking the story was heading in one direction, and then all of a sudden, "Wow. How did we wind up here?"

And honestly? I kinda liked it. It was entertaining to read a collection where I had (literally) no idea what was coming next. And I realize that at some point, I probably should have stopped being surprised - I mean, that is clearly her thing - but somehow I never was. Which is clearly the mark of a really good writer.

Highlights from the collection for me were Tiger Mending, about two sisters investigating a very unusual seamstress position; The Fake Nazi, about a woman investigating the life of a man claiming to be a war criminal; The Color Master, about a woman who must learn how to put anger into her work; and The Devourings, about a human and an ogre, and how that marriage works.

I do not think this collection will be for everyone - I think if you are not already a fan of the short story as a genre, this would be a tough sell. But if you are willing to take a chance and be a bit astonished, you just might find yourself enjoying Bender's slightly bent world.

Finished - 9/2/13
Source - review copy from publisher via Netgalley - thank you!
MPAA rating - R for adult situations & some violence
My rating - 8/10

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

Hm, I generally don't like fairy tale like stories but you've made this collection sound appealing.