reviewing Aimee Bender in the Chicago Tribune

Saturday, August 17, 2013

What a pleasure to review Aimee Bender in this weekend's Chicago Tribune. The review begins like this, below, and can be read in its entirety here.
We gathered in a circle in the side room and talked about mirrors, and still water, and wells, and feeling understood, and opals, and then we did a creative-writing exercise about our first memory of the moon, and how it affected us, and the moment when we realized it followed us … and then we wrote haiku.

I borrow this gorgeous scene from the midst of the title story in Aimee Bender's new collection, "The Color Master." I place it here, as a header and a prompt, as a way of saying that this, perhaps, is where Bender's wild and fantastical stories begin — with a first memory of the moon. Perhaps Bender, as a little girl, was already paying attention to the way light dives through and past forest leaves. Perhaps she was stacking unlike things beside unlike things and forging intricate bridges. Perhaps, after her mother read her fairy tales, she hid beneath her covers with a flashlight, a pair of scissors, some crayons and glue, and rearranged the elements to make the stories more bewildering and aberrant and lovely.


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