FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER THE PARTICULAR SADNESS OF LEMON CAKE - A RICHARD AND JUDY BOOK CLUB PICK
LONGLISTED FOR THE PEN/JEAN STEIN BOOK AWARD
'The Butterfly Lampshade is an unflinching, empathetic portrayal of a childhood touched by mental illness. As always, Aimee Bender's respect for the child and the child within translates into wisdom and magic on the page.' Jing-Jing Lee, author of How We Disappeared
On the night her mother is taken to a mental health hospital after a psychotic episode, eight year-old Francie is mesmerised by a lamp adorned with butterflies as she falls asleep. When she wakes, Francie sees a dead butterfly matching the ones on the lamp floating in a glass of water. She drinks it before anyone sees. Twenty-years later, Francie is compelled to make sense of that moment and two other incidents that have haunted her life. But how close are her memories to reality, and will she ever be free of them?
a beautifully written portrayal of a girl trying to understand her mother's mental illness.
[A] compact surrealist memory box of a novel. . . Its particular quality of stillness hums with so much mystery and intensity that the book never feels static . . . I felt considerably more altered by the experience than I often am by novels that travel much further from their beginnings . . . One finishes the novel with the eerie sense that we too are objects who have slipped accidentally into being.
[A] dazzling rumination on time and mental illness ... Bender has a gift for rooting wonderfully inventive fables in a very recognisable walkable world [and the] middle-class Los Angeles of backyards and hatchbacks, bus stops and craft shops, is overlaid with mythic events-modest miracles, observed by few, that expose a world of mystery. . . [Francie's] receptiveness to the marvels eddying around brightens every detail in a small, deeply felt life.
[A] poignant novel of love and mental illness.