Monday, April 23, 2012

Memorable Books: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

Aparna from Musings, has decided to share her thoughts on another memorable book that she happened to read recently. Thanks Aparna!
On a saturday afternoon, after my son (3 year old that he is) decided that he wanted to hop along to his cousin sister's house to stay overnight, and, (to my dismay!!!) hubby dear wanted to choose this exact day to go on a Tirupati trip, instead of brooding over the fact that they had happily left me to pursue their interests, I decided to visit the library and get some interesting books. I had an entire day all to myself, and what more could I ask for! All these days, catering to the little fellow took up most of my time, the rest of which I was at work or sleeping; I couldn't have got a better opportunity than this. 

This day was when I chanced upon the novel called "The Particular sadness of a lemon cake". Usually on my library trips, I pick books recommended by friends or cousins.  But the title of this one caught my attention, and I read the prologue. It sounded so intriguing and different from the usual, that I decided to pick it. And true to the name and prologue, what a wonderful read this turned out to be.

The very idea of having the capability to discern the feelings of the person preparing a dish was what captured my attention here. I mean, imagine having the ability to do this. And imagine having to live through it knowing about the person's innermost thoughts, desires, and whatever not.  

This little girl, Rose, is bouncing along through her life, till it takes a nightmarish turn on the week of her 9th birthday. Oblivious of what was in store, she is thrilled to sink her teeth into the soft and gooey chocolate-lemon cake that her mother has lovingly baked for her. And to her shock, though she is able to feel the taste of the cake, which is mind-blowing and close to being the best cake in the world, the feelings she can gather in those bites is so overwhelming, that she just cannot seem to enjoy the cake. She attempts in vain, to get the feeling out of her system. Starting with this experience, in every other meal that her mother prepares for her, she cannot seem to enjoy the meal, as she is able to feel the emotions of her mother; the emotions which her mother successfully conceals and puts up a smiling and "all is hunky dory" look on her face. The mother, though, is not so successful in doing that with her daughter. Rose knows her mothers innermost thoughts. It's like the dishes speak to her. They linger over her tongue and pass through her throat engulfing her in the sadness, desires and feelings. Over various days, with the help of experiments with a friend who believes in her capability, she comes to terms with the fact that this is what she has to live through the rest of her life. 

This novel goes on to talk about Rose, her struggle to live through life with this new found ability of hers, her mother's secret, her brother's in-explainable behavioral traits, her father and his distance from the family, her little trysts with so-called friends, and finally, her attempt to using this unique ability of hers to actually be able to enjoy the rest of her life. 

Aimee has captured the whole idea in a wonderful, thought provoking manner. Makes for an interesting read. 
Sounds interesting! Aparna is a wonderful cook, so I understand why this book intrigued her so much! I remember making a mental note of reading this book a while back. It's definitely a unique gift to "taste" the cook's deepest feelings. I think most Eastern traditions believe that the things one creates (or cooks) carry a part of the creator with them. They even say cooking with negative thoughts ruins the dish. I am curious to know how Rose uses her gift in ways that are helpful to her and those around her!

Aparna's thoughts on another memorable book can be read here.

If you're interested in participating in this feature, here's more information on it.


SecondSight said...

Interesting! Very reminiscent of Like water for chocolate somehow :).

Neeraja said...

Ooh there's another book like this? It's on my list now :)