AtoZ, Blog Challenge, Books

[C] The Color Master by Aimee Bender #AtoZchallenge

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I read the rave reviews of a fellow reader on Goodreads about a book titled “The particular sadness of lemon cake” which struck me as a very quirky title. I researched the author a bit and decided to read her short story collections titled The Color Master as my first book. The idea was to gauge her writing style and how it would arrest my imagination.

Title: The Color Master

Author:  Aimee Bender

Genre: Short stories, Fiction

Publication: Windmill


Aimee Bender is an American writer, most well-known for her fantastic characters and plots. Her writing has been called bold and her stories enchanting and unpredictable. She has several short story collections to her credit and has twice received the Pushcraft Prize.


The color master is a rich collection of surreal stories where characters struggle with love, sex, and familial ties while traversing the bitter harsh realities of life. These stories enchant the reader to imagine a world of such rich possibilities that its difficult to extricate one out of them. The stories take you into a house of mirror where every possible reflection can be seen, leaving you thrilled and excited to the core with the many possibilities.


In Red Ribbon a woman complies to play out her husband’s fantasy by roleplaying as a prostitute; only to discover that she loves the thrill and now no longer wants to abandon it for her regular life.

Tiger Mending is a story of two sisters who excel in needlework are approached by a pair of exotic looking women who promise them a fulfilling job if they accompany them to Malaysia. Once there, they travel to deep forests to find tigers whose skins have deep tears in them. The two women set about to repair them into whole but never could find out as to how and why were the tiger’s skins splitting into two.

The Color Master is my favourite story out of the lot and is the tale of finding that perfect shade of color to be made to specifications as imagined and requested by its patron and put into a dress. The process of color making involves putting in emotions into the pigment to give it that perfect shade and its only the Color Master who has perfected the technique of doing so.

The Devourings is a tale of a woman married to an Ogre and who ends up eating their six children one night in a fit of ravenous hunger. The woman decides to leave him as she is not sure she wants to be in this marriage any longer. The ogre is sad to see her go but packs up food and other items for her long journey. In the food items, he packs a magically regenerating cake which keeps replenishing itself till the woman is sick of eating it.

Lasting Impression on me:

I found the writings to be lush with magic and surrealism, lending them a reality that I was hard pressed to leave. The imagery is evocative yet very believable. Each story has a very unpredictable theme and even more unrealistic ending – yet every one of them left me aching for more. The writing comprises of fairy tales, folk-lore and then a bit of modern-day sense; all shaken and stirred into masterpieces to be devoured down into one’s imagination.

My Rating:

The stories of Color Master have me bewitched and I am striving to read more of this author. If you favour reading fantasy and love imagery layered text, then this book is a must read for you. *****

* This post contains affiliate links and if you click to buy from here, I will earn some referral fee amount *

Do you love reading short stories? What did you think of this collection? Are you charmed by such fantastical tales?


I am on a no-book-buying pact as I am pretty much broke; not to mention that I am running out of space as well!! But incase anyone wants to trade their books or send me gifts, please do check out my Wishlist on Amazon & Want to read on Goodreads.

Coming up tomorrow is [D] for The Dalai Lama’s Cat

For the uninitiated, AtoZ challenge is a blogging challenge wherein one has to write on every alphabet from A to Z and post on all days of April, except Sundays. Usually its better to devise a theme as it makes it easy to write the posts. Plus readers have a reason to stay hooked too.

The A to Z Challenge is created by  Arlee Bird of Tossing it Out
and co-hosted by

Alex J. Cavanaugh of Alex J. Cavanaugh

Jeremy Hawkins of Hollywood Nuts

Heather M. Gardner of  The Waiting is the Hardest Part
Zalka Csenge Virág of The Multicolored Diary

John Holton of The Sound of One Hand Typing

J Lenni Dorner of  Blog of J. Lenni Dorner

Some of my previous  posts you might be interested in catching up on

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31 thoughts on “[C] The Color Master by Aimee Bender #AtoZchallenge

  1. I had never heard of this author or the book. Sounds like an interesting read. Headed over to Goodreads right now.

  2. Hari OM
    I do not know this author but it sounds intriguing. Am fond of the short-fiction format and write a lot of it myself, so might look this one up. Am very fond of Harlan Ellison’s short stories.. good to look up if you like allegorical and fantastical scene-setting. YAM xx

    1. I havent heard of this author and am checking him up on goodreads for a future read. Thanks for the recco Yamini 🙂

  3. This sounds like a perfect read for me. I’m weary of the not-yet-ended winter and craving some of the color that Spring will bring when it finally arrives. In the meantime though this sounds like a magical alternative.

  4. Wow.

    These are so weird and quirky tales, yet so interesting. I love short stories and this is just an awesome recommendation. I had heard of the lemon cake title once, now I remember.
    Yes i do love fantasy.

    1. I know I am collecting books while reading Ramya too 😉 Do share your thoughts on the book when you do read it!! 🙂

  5. Wow Shalz..these are some amazing short stories..I have to grab this book..In this A-Z I am coming across such amazing books that my TBR is growing fatter. Thanks for the review dear.

    1. I know what you mean; I have been reading Ramya’s blog and adding some books from there to mine too 😉 This one you will love for sure; dont forget to tell me how it was for you!

    1. Thank you Tina – loving to hear such words of praise. I am happy to see so many folks liking my book selections. I am writing from the heart about them and these are not exactly very technical reviews. You should check out their reviews on sites like Goodreads and then you will be doubly sure of the worth of picking them up for a read 🙂

  6. I think you hit the nail on the head with your description – surrealism is apt. And it is something worth checking out if there are so many awards attached to this author’s resume 🙂

    1. Oh yes- this writer is amazing in my opinion. I think I fall in love with the way the words make me feel more than the stories and plots 😉

  7. I’ve heard of the author only because of the Lemon Cake book and I was intrigued by it so I added it to my TBR years ago. Now, it looks like I have got to read this one first. Every story sounds so fascinating! I’m gonna pick this one up as soon as I’m done with my current reading bunch.

    I’m so glad to have discovered these book through you, Shalini. As a bibliophile, this theme of your is adding so much to my TBR list. Thank you for that 🙂

    1. Oh my god- hearing that from a trube blue book lover like you has just made my day Soumya. I had so many doubts while doing this theme for the challenge. Now I am loving it, thanks to the boost of confidence from peeps like you 🙂

  8. I love and love reading short stories. I really loved how you described and picked those pieces. The concept of ‘The color master’ story took my heart. I am going to follow you on good reads as well. And this book as been added to my personal diary of books to read. Thanks for the lovely recommendation.

    1. Oh how lovely Shesha; this feels so good to read. I am so glad my favourites are finding homes in other peeps TBR – please do share your views on this book when you do read it! Cheers

  9. The thing about short stories is that they drain you emotionally in so less a time and then you got to switch modes into a different world. Yet I love them. The ones in this book sound really magical.

  10. As soon as I read the title I was interested in this book. It sounds really nice and I love short stories. Another addition to my wish list 😀
    All the best for the last week of #AtoZChallenge

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