I think that deep down most people wish that magic was real. Maybe that’s one of the reasons that I love magical realism as a genre. In magical realism, our world is infused with just a little bit of magic, which usually illuminates something about human nature. Recently, I read the magical realism novel The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender.
In this book, Rose Edelstein has a magical gift that is also kind of a curse: whenever she eats something, she can taste the emotions of the person who made the food. I think that the goodreads description sums up this book beautifully: “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is a luminous tale about the enormous difficulty of loving someone fully when you know too much about them.” As Rose learns more about her gift and those around her, she has to reckon with the fact that people often try to hide what they’re feeling for a reason.
This is definitely a character-driven book that focuses mostly on Rose and her family dynamic. As they navigate their lives, emotions, and disappointments, Rose uses her gift to truly empathize with others and learn more about being human.
I really enjoyed this book and thought it was unique in concept and had some truly beautiful prose. If you’re looking for something psychological and very character-driven, I think you should give this one a try!