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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Review: 'The Color Master'

By Aimee Bender
Literary fiction short stories
August 2013
ISBN: 978-0-385-53489-5

Magic realism is a tricky thing. Go too far in one direction and the result can be either fantasy or an inability to keep that disbelief suspended. Go too far the other way and the result can be so close to the real world that the reaction is: Why bother?

Aimee Bender, like two characters in the title story of this collection, knows how to mix the ingredients together just right.

Her stories are filled with yearning. Some characters do outrageous things, daring themselves to push past acceptable behavior. Even the thought of doing outrageous things, dangerous things, changes the world or the characters, and there is a sense of loss.

Other characters dare themselves to discover, and the result often is a finding of themselves, or love, or both. Often, the stories have healing qualities. Characters are saved or come to new realizations about themselves that make their lives better. They learn to create colors so garments reflect the sun, the moon and the sky. They learn how to mend tigers and why the tigers need mending. A cake that was created to replenish itself learns how to overcome the darkness of the never-ending need to please. A man with a perfect face learns how to find the love of his life. A family that receives unexpected presents learns to cherish what they have.

Some of the stories defy easy explanation. And that’s all right. The moods, the emotions, the journeys that the characters undertake are worth savoring and being allowed to steep into memory. They should not be rushed through. They should be enjoyed.

©2013 All Rights Reserved CompuServe Books Reviews and reprinted with permission

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