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Willful Creatures: Stories


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ISBN13: 9780385720977
ISBN10: 0385720971
Condition: Standard
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topperg, February 1, 2007 (view all comments by topperg)
Pardon the faux pas above. Listening to Aimee Mann and reading Aimee Bender. Maybe I just made my own point! ;-)

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topperg, February 1, 2007 (view all comments by topperg)
Reading Aimee Mann is like taking small trips into your dreams while wide away. It's something along the lines of organized spontaneous chaos. You think, I could have written that if only I had thought it!
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Product Details

Bender, Aimee
Anchor Books
Short Stories (single author)
Fantasy fiction, American
Stories (single author)
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.32x4.84x.61 in. .45 lbs.

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Willful Creatures: Stories Used Trade Paper
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Product details 224 pages Anchor Books - English 9780385720977 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Aimee Bender always manages to tell stories that are both surreal and whimsical, yet entirely emotionally relatable. In Willful Creatures she weaves stories of people with keys as fingers or irons as heads that draw you in and perfectly capture the human condition. She never fails to make you feel weird and wonderful at the same time.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Fifteen stories bursting with heart and marvel make up this daringly original collection by Bender (The Girl in the Flammable Skirt). Nameless characters lend the tales an allegorical feel and heighten the emotional impact, as in one story's breathlessly cinematic love scene between a seducer (identified only by an expletive, 'the mother') and his prey ('the starlet'). With stories that turn on stark cruelty, Bender deftly forces uncomfortable identification with unsympathetic protagonists who torment the weak: like 'Debbieland' 's collective 'we' of predatory girls, and the man in 'End of the Line' who purchases a miniature man as a pet and tortures him. Elsewhere, she evokes tender relationships with a balance of earthy heartbreak and otherworldly strangeness. In 'Dearth,' the sudden appearance of seven potato-children forces the solitary protagonist into messy motherhood; in 'Ironhead,' a pumpkin-headed couple grieves for their dead child, whose heavy head, literally a clothes iron, kills him with its debilitating weight; in 'The Leading Man,' a boy with key-shaped fingers wishes only to unlock the secret of his father's wartime trauma. Bender's surrealism is never gratuitous in the fantastical yet truthful stories of this singular collection. Agent, Henry Dunow. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "Aimee Bender has created a series of glisteningly weird miniatures....Willful Creatures has such precise detail, such tangible feeling, that it is hard to put down. And at best, Bender's vision, with its dark, plucky humor and touches of the bizarre, has the power to make us cringe for our own world, with its many emotional mishaps and moral failings." (read the entire Esquire review)
"Review A Day" by , "Willful Creatures achieves what many story collections do not: it leaves an emotional impression that transcends the individual stories, but does not erase them. This may explain why her readers are so devoted: we feel as though we've witnessed the miraculous rebirth of the short story....Bender's stories are gothic fiction in which mutation and deformity are the resurrection of hope. Amen." (read the entire review)
"Review" by , "I am a long-standing, passionate fan of Aimee Bender's stories. Her images explode, her words ignite. Watching her imagination catch fire remains a sustaining joy in my readerly life." Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones
"Review" by , "Second story collection from a keen stylist intent on rewriting the grim fable of modern life....A handful of real moments, presented with bite and wit."
"Review" by , "To curl up with an Aimee Bender story is to thank heaven you ever learned to read in the first place....What a treat to spend 15 stories in Bender's vast and wonderfully unhinged imagination. (Grade: A)"
"Review" by , "With clear, crisp writing, Bender's stories resonate long after the final page is turned in this remarkable collection."
"Review" by , "Lyrical and lovely, Bender's prose is also matter-of-fact and direct. She can turn a phrase that takes your breath away....[S]he is Hemingway on an acid trip; her choices are twisted, both ethereal and surprisingly weighty."
"Review" by , "Bender's stories...range in length and voice, floating in the ethereal space between naturalism and magic realism....This collection moves along effortlessly, though you will linger in the 'what' it reveals."
"Review" by , "[Bender's stories] are often funny, sometimes dangerous and always strange....None of these stories is longer than a lunch-hour read. Most you could wolf in a coffee break. But they stick with you. They are not realistic, but they are oddly real."
"Review" by , "[A] truly original voice deserving our full and closest attention. Her work soars, allowing readers to view life in a wholly new way. Willful Creatures is an essential work that should be required reading for any who delight in deft prose and truly empathetic portraits of the human condition."
"Review" by , "Bender creates contemporary fairy tales, cushioned by goofy humor and a deep tenderness for her characters, that aren't always as dark or as sinister as they initially appear."
"Review" by , "This collection again demonstrates Bender's edgy and brilliant storytelling gifts....The weirdness of Bender's well-crafted stories and their spectacle of human emotion will captivate readers' imaginations, hearts, and souls. Highly recommended."
"Synopsis" by , Aimee Benders Willful Creatures conjures a fantastical world in which authentic love blooms. This is a place where a boy with keys for fingers is a hero, a womans children are potatoes, and a little boy with an iron for a head is born to a family of pumpkin heads. With her singular mix of surrealism, musical prose, and keenly felt emotion, Bender once again proves herself to be a masterful chronicler of the human condition.
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