One of our recommended books is The Butterfly Lampshade by Aimee Bender

THE BUTTERFLY LAMPSHADE

A Novel


The first novel in ten years 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,

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The first novel in ten years 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 own place in the world.

As Francie conjures her past and reduces her engagement with the world to a bare minimum, she begins to question her relationship to reality. The scenes set in Francie’s past glow with the intensity of childhood perception, how physical objects can take on an otherworldly power. The question for Francie is, What do these events signify? And does this power survive childhood?

Told in the lush, lilting prose that led the San Francisco Chronicle to say Aimee Bender is “a writer who makes you grateful for the very existence of language,” The Butterfly Lampshade is a heartfelt and heartbreaking examination of the sometimes overwhelming power of the material world, and a broken love between mother and child.

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  • Doubleday
  • Hardcover
  • July 2020
  • 304 Pages
  • 9780385534871

Buy the Book

$26.95

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About Aimee Bender

Aimee Bender is the author of The Butterfly Lampshade

Aimee Bender is the author of the novels The Color Master, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake—a New York Times bestseller, An Invisible Sign of My Own, and of the collections The Girl in the Flammable Skirt and Willful Creatures. Her works have been widely anthologized and have been translated into 16 languages. She lives in Los Angeles.

Praise

“Rich in language and the magic of human consciousness, Bender’s masterpiece is one to savor.” – Publisher’s Weekly

“The book reveals itself as a meditation on memory, identity, and the sometimes-uncanny relationship between living beings and the inanimate world.” – Kirkus