The Girl in the Flammable Skirt

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

by Aimee Bender #40
I got curious about Aimee Bender after reading a Powell's Review-A-Day on her latest book. The review made comparative mention of Kelly Link , and I am crazy about Kelly Link. I did what anyone would do - surfed on over to the library's website and put this collection (her first, and with the fewest people waiting for it) on hold. I really liked a number of her stories, but as a whole the collection didn't knock me dead like Kelly Link's work has done (to be fair, not much does). Aimee Bender does have a sort of similar feel to Kelly Link - they both deal with imagery and archetypes that are the currency of the collective unconscious. They're more alike than either one of them is like Tom Clancy, for example, but I don't think the comparison is really fair to either one of them. I think Link is a master of metaphor in ways few are. But Bender has great talent in describing visceral emotions like hunger, fear, and desire. Kelly Link's work reminds me of Fairy Tales (in the OMG- the witch ate those babies sense, not necessarily the happily ever after sense) and Aimee Bender reminds me more of Fables (minus the moralizing, which some would say is the point... they're just different, OK?) All right, I will stop this rampant wikipedia abuse and conclude by saying that I really DID enjoy this collection. Particularly the story of the wacked out socialite who... well, just read it. And the one with the mermaid and the imp in highschool, the librarian story, the story about the healer (hand of ice, hand of fire - it reminded me a little bit of the AS Byatt short story about the ice girl), and so on. I know she's got at least one other short story collection, and a full-length novel, both of which I will be searching out.
2 comments on "The Girl in the Flammable Skirt"
  1. I'd recommend Aimee's "Job's Job" from the new collection (WILLFUL CREATURES), which is a dark funny-scary/Kafka-esque fable that's a kind of stand-alone story (i.e. has its own, needs-no-context feel)and is... well, I found it genuinely inspirational.

  2. Thanks for the recommendation - I've put it on hold. Dark funny-scary/Kafka-esque yet inspirational fable all sound good to me.


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