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About the Book

About the Book

The Butterfly Lampshade

The first novel in 10 years from the author of the beloved New York Times bestseller THE PARTICULAR SADNESS OF LEMON CAKE, comes a luminous, poignant tale of a mother, a daughter, mental illness and the fluctuating barrier between the mind and the world.

On the night her single mother is taken to a mental hospital after a psychotic episode, eight-year-old Francie is staying with her babysitter, waiting to take the train to Los Angeles to go live with her aunt and uncle. There is a lovely lamp next to the couch on which she's sleeping, the shade adorned with butterflies. When she wakes, Francie spies a dead butterfly, exactly matching the ones on the lamp, floating in a glass of water. She drinks it before the babysitter can see.

Twenty years later, Francie is compelled to make sense of that moment, and two other incidents --- her discovery of a desiccated beetle from a school paper, and a bouquet of dried roses from some curtains. Her recall is exact --- she is sure these things happened. But despite her certainty, she wrestles with the hold these memories maintain over her, and what they say about her own place in the world.

As Francie conjures her past and reduces her engagement with the world to a bare minimum, she begins to question her relationship to reality. The scenes set in Francie's past glow with the intensity of childhood perception, how physical objects can take on an otherworldly power. The question for Francie is, What do these events signify? And does this power survive childhood?

THE BUTTERFLY LAMPSHADE is a heartfelt and heartbreaking examination of the sometimes overwhelming power of the material world, and a broken love between mother and child.

Audiobook available, read by Julia Whelan

The Butterfly Lampshade
by Aimee Bender

  • Publication Date: July 28, 2020
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday
  • ISBN-10: 0385534876
  • ISBN-13: 9780385534871