Synopses & Reviews
From the author of the beloved New York Times bestseller The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, a luminous, poignant tale of a mother, a daughter, mental illness, and the fluctuating barrier between the mind and the world.
On the night her single mother is taken to a mental hospital after a psychotic episode, eight year-old Francie is staying with her babysitter, waiting to take the train to Los Angeles to go live with her aunt and uncle. There is a lovely lamp next to the couch on which she's sleeping, the shade adorned with butterflies. When she wakes, Francie spies a dead butterfly, exactly matching the ones on the lamp, floating in a glass of water. She drinks it before the babysitter can see.
Twenty years later, Francie is compelled to make sense of that moment, and two other incidents — her discovery of a desiccated beetle from a school paper, and a bouquet of dried roses from some curtains. Her recall is exact — she is sure these things happened. But despite her certainty, she wrestles with the hold these memories maintain over her, and what they say about her relationship to reality.
"[An] astounding meditation on time, space, mental illness, and family....Rich in language and the magic of human consciousness, Bender's masterpiece is one to savor." Publisher's Weekly (Starred Review)
“A surrealist memory box of a novel...Its particular quality of stillness hums with so much mystery and intensity that the book never feels static….a kind of small-scale, supernatural Proustian reverie." Kevin Brockmeier, The New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice)
“A poignant, emotional story sprinkled with magic.” Woman's World
"[A] dazzling rumination on time and mental illness....[Francie's] receptiveness to the marvels eddying around brightens every detail in a small, deeply felt life.” Anne Stringfield, Oprah Magazine
“[A] poignant novel of love and mental illness.” Barbara VanDenburgh, USA Today
“Woven through with unexpected images and unexplained phenomena, Bender's novel is a moving meditation on choosing a positive future while acknowledging the circumstances of one's past." BookReporter
About the Author
Aimee Bender is the author of the novels The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake — a New York Times bestseller — and An Invisible Sign of My Own, and of the collections The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, Willful Creatures, and The Color Master. Her works have been widely anthologized and have been translated into sixteen languages. She lives in Los Angeles.