THE PARTICULAR SADNESS OF LEMON CAKE

 

The particular sadness of lemon cake

 

Synopsis

On the eve of her ninth birthday, Rose Edelstein bites into her mother’s homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the slice.

All at once her cheerful, can-do mother tastes of despair and desperation. Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes perilous. Anything can be revealed at any meal.

Rose’s gift forces her to confront the truth behind her family’s emotions – her mother’s sadness, her father’s detachment and her brother’s clash with the world. But as Rose grows up, she learns that there are some secrets even her taste buds cannot discern.

 

Much as the book focusses on food, I feel it has to be digested slowly when reading. It’s heavily laden with sensory descriptors and raw, exposing emotion from the characters. The pace is steady throughout and many sentences over-indulge themselves within a scene, noting surroundings, textures, and emotions at great length. It’s definitely a book that’s more hearty meal, than light snack.

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THE REST OF US JUST LIVE HERE

synopsisPatrick Ness

Not everyone has to be the chosen one.

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death.

What if you were Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

And what if there are problems bigger than this weeks end of the world and you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life?

Even if your best friend might be the God of mountain lions.

                          

Minority groups have always been pushed into the background of novels, particularly where fantasy is concerned.

They reside in the bulk of stock characters, and hover on the outskirts of the action. On occasion one might crop up as a secondary character, as part of the group that trail after the protagonist as she/he saves the day, but rarely being in the limelight themselves.

In The Rest of us Just Live Here, Ness explores the typical events of a YA fantasy novel from the perspective of these overlooked characters, representing different sexualities, disability, colour, size, age. From this turn in perspective, the background characters have flipped to consist of the ‘chosen ones,’ of which we are normally used to following as the novel’s protagonist. Rather than being unique and special, they’re indistinguishable from each other, as Ness satirises the stereotypes of the blank, one dimensional characters, usually reserved for characters of minority.

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