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Willful Creatures: Stories by Aimee Bender

Willful Creatures: Stories (2005)

by Aimee Bender

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I wonder how many times the word "surreal" has been used to describe Aimee Bender's Willful Creatures? It fits. Descriptors such as "imaginative", "off-the-wall", "Kafkaesque", "mind-bending", "brilliant" (in my opinion), "complex" and "phantasmagorical" apply as well.

This is not a light read ('nuff said about that!). One has to wonder how much of her own psyche the author has shared with her readers. Yikes.

You'll get no spoilers from me . . if you're looking for a book of (fifteen) short stories that will leave you shaking your head in amazement/disbelief?; backtracking to make certain your eyes were not deceiving you and rehashing a storyline long after the book has been read . . you might consider this one!

Highly recommended. ( )
  idajo | May 8, 2016 |
Being short stories from a capable, imaginative author. The stories' premises are fantastic--a woman's home is invaded by indestructible potatoes, two pumpkinheads struggle to raise their ironhead child, ten men are told, some mistakenly, that they are terminally ill. The stories carry out their intriguing premises very well, though their endings are ambiguous and thus will not please traditionalists. The author does occasionally serve the reader less well by injecting a mannered tone when she messes with syntax by shifting word order around, pitching a complete non sequitur into her narrative flow, or adding wordplay which is rarely clever; all these devices flop around like beached fish. Which is too bad; these stories are generally well-written products of an extremely creative imagination. ( )
  Big_Bang_Gorilla | Apr 13, 2016 |
Tiptree shortlist 2005. Ghastly - didn't get past the second story. The first story was slightly fantasy in that it was about a man who torments a tiny man. The second was about a selfish, stupid woman who meanders around at a party being a nuisance - no SF&F elements whatsoever. Neither stories went anywhere and neither examined gender. ( )
  SChant | Jan 30, 2015 |
I read this book again and again and never find it any less enthralling. ( )
  brwilliams387 | Mar 19, 2014 |
Bender's style is witty and sometimes perverse. She likes to tell fables and stories of the fantastic. What I like most about this collection is the amount of realism present in such fantastical stories. My favorite story is the one about Ironhead. ( )
  eidzior | Apr 6, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Always unexpected, the events befalling these characters aren’t the whims of a cruel author who enjoys inflicting pain. In fact, Bender feels less the creator of these stories and more a charming hostess who, despite some less than ideal circumstances, makes you comfortable with affable, screwy humor, parlor-room wordplay, and some plain old cute sentences like, “He felt very very tired for four years old.”
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385720971, Paperback)

Aimee Bender’s Willful Creatures conjures a fantastical world in which authentic love blooms. This is a place where a boy with keys for fingers is a hero, a woman’s children are potatoes, and a little boy with an iron for a head is born to a family of pumpkin heads. With her singular mix of surrealism, musical prose, and keenly felt emotion, Bender once again proves herself to be a masterful chronicler of the human condition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:15 -0400)

"Aimee Bender conjures surreal worlds in which authentic emotion blooms. A woman's children may be potatoes, but the love she feels for them is heartbreakingly real. A boy with keys as fingers is seen not as a freak but as a hero. Bender infuses even inanimate objects with human warmth."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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