The Color Master

When I swoop down the library aisle to claim my held books, rarely am I caught by any of the books on display, but today Aimee Bender’s name glanced off my eye and I grabbed it with a smile. Bender’s words are always a playful delight, and her latest collection of short stories contains some delicious morsels. While not as strong as previous collections, the stories are whimsical, mysterious, cracked and entertaining. Of the stories, Wordkeepers and The Color Master were tops in my book.
Wordkeepers details the relationship between neighbors trying not to get into a relationship, where the woman rails against his inability to remember words, tiny attention span made worse by incessant checking of phone, texting. He forgets words like throat, scale. His student explains she had a problem with her breathing things (lungs) and the doctor gave her drugs she calls antirobotics. “I’d be irritated, except as soon as they leave I have a thing I am planning to do and I walk into the center of the room to do it and whatever it was flies away. Half my days I find myself standing in the center of rooms.”
The Color Master is a bit dreamier/fiercer, a tale of village artisans who make custom clothing for royalty, matching the color of the duke’s shoes to the rocks in his land, making cloth the color of the moon, the sun, the sky. Based on the early French tale, Donkeyskin.