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Aimee Bender Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

An Invisible Sign of My Own (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Butterfly Lampshade (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

The Third Elevator (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Faces (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Doctor and the Rabbi (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dreaming in Polish (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

The Girl in the Flammable Skirt (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Willful Creatures (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Color Master (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

On the Rocks: The KGB Bar Fiction Anthology(2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Future Dictionary of America(2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories(2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Secret Society of Demolition Writers(2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Insomniac Reader(2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Awake!(2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sideshow: Ten Original Tales of Freaks, Illusionists and Other Matters Odd and Magical(2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
The New Dead: A Zombie Anthology(2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me(2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Unstuck #1(2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Best Bizarro Fiction of the Decade(2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Monsters of Literary Sightings(2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
My First Novel(2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Selected Shorts: Behaving Badly(2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
xo Orpheus(2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Unscrolled(2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror(2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Choose Wisely: 35 Women Up To No Good(2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Watchlist(2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Flashed(2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
9 Stories on the Magic of Cities(2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Best Small Fictions 2018(2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Speculative Los Angeles(2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ploughshares Summer 2021(2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Aimee Bender is an American literary fiction author from Los Angeles whose works have been anthologized and translated into more than ten languages.

It was in 1998 that she published “The Girl in the Flammable Skirt” which would go on to become a Notable Book in the New York Times.

“An Invisible Sign of My Own,” which was her first novel was a critically acclaimed work that she published in the year 2000.

While “Willful Creatures” her collection of short stories was highly praised for its surrealistic plots and characters, she would come into her own with the publishing of “The Particular Sadness of Lemon.”

Aside from her bestselling novels, Aimee is also the winner of many awards including the Pushcart Prize. She has also published many of her short stories in literary magazines such as Paris Review, Granta, McSweeney’s, Harper’s, and GQ.
Outside of his writing, she works for the University of California as a professor of Surrealism.

Aimee Bender is also very actively engaged in social projects that encourage artistic work and writing among people with mental disabilities and special needs known as the “Imagination Workshop.”
She currently lives in Los Angeles alongside her family.

Like many authors, Aimee Bender began writing as a child because she loved words and stories. Back then, she never thought that it would one day lead to her becoming a fiction author.
In her teenage years, she went to the San Diego-based University of California and then to the University of California, Irvine, where she got her Master of Fine Arts degree.

It was at Irvine where she studied with Geoffrey Wolff and Judith Grossman who became friends that encouraged her to pursue a career as an author.

Upon graduation, she started living with her boyfriend in Los Angeles, where they used to share an office working on their computers back to back.

But she hated the distraction from her boyfriend as he tap-tapped on his computer that she found a hall closet, which she furnished and made her own home office.
It was from that small closet office that she wrote for more than two years as she found the dark small space to provide a lot of motivation for writing.

As for how she writes, Aimee Bender has often said that writing can be a distressing, frightening business and as such, having a buffer or structure can help a lot.
For more than seventeen years, she has been faithfully writing for two hours every morning, every day, five days a week.

When she gets into the office, Bender will usually sit down and check her mail then turn off the internet and begin writing which she does for two hours.

Bender finds that setting rules such as no Internet and setting a set time for writing helps her keep to the task.

She is a huge believer in boredom as a way of bringing inspiration to the surface as whenever she is bored or restless, she usually comes up with something.

As for her inspiration, she loves the intuition of Haruki Murakami the precision of Lydia Davis, the strange sadness of Jesse Ball, the depth of James Baldwin, and the wild imagery of Angela Carter.

Aimee Bender’s “The Butterfly Lampshade” is a poignant and luminous tale of a daughter, a mother, mental illness, and the ever-changing barrier between the world and the mind.

On the very night, her mother has a psychotic episode and is sent to a mental hospital Francie the eight-year-old is left with the babysitter as she waits to be sent to Los Angeles, where she is to live with her uncle and aunt.
Next to the couch where she is having a nap is a lovely lamp with a shade beautified with butterflies. When she comes to, she sees a dead butterfly floating in a glass of water that looks just like the ones on the lamp.
Before the babysitter comes into the room she downs the glass of water.

Two decades later, she is trying to make sense of the moment alongside two other incidents including the discovery of a bouquet of dried roses and a desiccated beetle.

She can remember everything clearly and is certain about what happened and struggles with the hold these events seem to have had on her and her place in the world.

As she looks back to her past and tries to engage less with the world, she is questioning her relationship with reality.

The work is a heartbreaking and heartfelt exploration of the broken love between child and mother and how powerful and overwhelming the material world can be.

Aimee Bender’s “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake” is a moving and lush story of a girl who believes she has a magical gift but all she has is a devastating curse.

On the night before her ninth birthday, a peripheral and unassuming girl named Rose Edelstein bit into the chocolate lemon cake that her mother made and learned that she had a magical gift.
She soon finds that right there in the cake, she can taste her mother’s motion.

But to her horror, she learns that her mother tastes of desperation and despair, despite showing the world an image of a can-do mother, good with crafts and always full of cheer.
Suddenly food becomes a threat and peril to the little girl that may follow her for the rest of her life.

She has access to all the secret knowledge families love to keep under wraps, her father’s detachment, her mother’s life when she is not at home, and the conflict her brother is having with the world.
But as she grows older, she learns how to better control her magical gifts and discovers that there are many secrets that her taste buds cannot make out.
It is a luminous tale that tells of the difficulty of loving someone when you know just about everything about them.

“An Invisible Sign of My Own” is the stunning debut novel by Aimee Bender that introduces the lead as a girl named Mona Gray.

When she was just ten, her father was afflicted with a bizarre illness and she quit everything she was talented in to pursue intense pleasure.

The only things she cannot stop doing are adding her steps, knocking on wood, and multiplying people against each other while she is out at the park. As she grows into an adult, she finds a ready audience as she teaches second-grade mathematics.
However, the wonderful and difficult facts of life always keep intruding. It is not long before she is drawn to her colleague who teaches science who somehow can unnervingly see through her well-constructed facade.

It is a work very different from anything Bender has ever written as she gives her characters unexpected emotional death even as she sets and directs them in a calamitous world that is both startlingly familiar and fancifully surreal.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Aimee Bender

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