Friday, 1 May 2015

Book Review: Willful Creatures by Aimee Bender

This was my first foray into Aimee Bender's work, and one which I enjoyed. It was slightly bonkers, which I realised wholly when I got to the story about a child born with an iron's head.  From the first story in, the unusual writing shocked me into concentrating to follow what was going on, and indeed to appreciate its wonderful turns, which I enjoyed. Whilst the writing style was often fun and playful, it was counteracted with the often sad tone of the stories, which I wasn't expecting. I think my favourite story was 'Dearth' . It was a wistful tale about a woman who treated a group of potatoes almost like they were children. It was immeasurably sad, and the plot was intriguing. My second favourite was 'Off'- I loved the messed-up narrator. 

I just overall feel like I didn't get them. I couldn't quite work out what she was trying to say. I think that this might be an unwelcome side effect of my degree: I look for the meaning in anything, cutting out some of the joy of storytelling. What if Aimee Bender just wanted to write a story about potato children or kids with irons for heads? What if she just wanted to explore the possibilities. I never even thought of that when reading. 

What was it about? I might try and cut out this question from my reviews. The degree's over, do I really need to do this anymore?
Would I recommend? I really couldn't decide on my answer to this question. Some of the stories were for me quite forgettable, in that they were so odd I'm not sure I quite took them in. But I'd read it for the ones that stand out, and I do look forward to reading more of Aimee Bender's work. I think I'd like to tackle The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake next. 

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Find Wilful Creatures on GoodReads here

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