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An Invisible Sign of My Own: A Novel
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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2011
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Description

Aimee Bender's stunning debut collection, The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, proved her to be one of the freshest voices in American fiction. Now, in her first novel, she builds on that early promise. Mona Gray was ten when her father contracted a mysterious illness and she became a quitter, abandoning each of her talents just as pleasure became intense. The only thing she can't stop doing is math: She knocks on wood, adds her steps, and multiplies people in the park against one another. When Mona begins teaching math to second-graders, she finds a ready audience. But the difficult and wonderful facts of life keep intruding. She finds herself drawn to the new science teacher, who has an unnerving way of seeing through her intricately built façade. Bender brilliantly directs her characters, giving them unexpected emotional depth and setting them in a calamitous world, both fancifully surreal and startlingly familiar.BONUS MATERIAL: This edition includes an excerpt from Aimee Bender's The Color Master.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
08/17/2011
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780307804471
ASIN:
B005EGXSQ8
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Aimee Bender. (2011). An Invisible Sign of My Own: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Aimee Bender. 2011. An Invisible Sign of My Own: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Aimee Bender, An Invisible Sign of My Own: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2011.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Aimee Bender. An Invisible Sign of My Own: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2011. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: Aimee Bender is the author of the novels The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake—a New York Times bestseller—and An Invisible Sign of My Own, and of the collections The Girl in the Flammable Skirt and Willful Creatures. Her works have been widely anthologized and have been translated into sixteen languages. She lives in Los Angeles.
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An Invisible Sign of My Own
fullDescription

Aimee Bender's stunning debut collection, The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, proved her to be one of the freshest voices in American fiction. Now, in her first novel, she builds on that early promise.

Mona Gray was ten when her father contracted a mysterious illness and she became a quitter, abandoning each of her talents just as pleasure became intense. The only thing she can't stop doing is math: She knocks on wood, adds her steps, and multiplies people in the park against one another. When Mona begins teaching math to second-graders, she finds a ready audience. But the difficult and wonderful facts of life keep intruding. She finds herself drawn to the new science teacher, who has an unnerving way of seeing through her intricately built façade. Bender brilliantly directs her characters, giving them unexpected emotional depth and setting them in a calamitous world, both fancifully surreal and startlingly familiar.

BONUS MATERIAL: This edition includes an excerpt from Aimee Bender's The Color Master.

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: David James Duncan, author of The Brothers K and River Teeth
      • content:

        "This mesmerizing novel places a mathematical mind, poet's imagination, and voodoo queen's superstition in an athlete's body and sets to work, in a town stark as a blackboard, on the problem of Death. Pitting axes against angst, kids against cancer, soap against sex, wax numbers against depression, and love against the certainty of the beloved's doom, Aimee Bender nevertheless arrives--with wit, grace, and proof (that math is funny)--at compassion."

      • premium: False
      • source: Stephen Dixon, author of Frog and 30: Pieces of a Novel
      • content: "Aimee Bender writes in a skillfully minimal way, everything very tight and poignant and sharp and often burning, quick to get to things and out of them, but still providing us with significant characters of emotional depth."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        July 3, 2000
        Clever, original and written with brio and eloquence, Bender's first novel (after the praised short story collection The Girl with the Flammable Skirt) may not appeal to every taste, but those who respond to its depressed, quirky heroine in her anguished search for safety from life's disasters will feel instant love. At 20, Mona Gray has deliberately made herself as colorless as her name. A decade ago, when her adored father fell victim to a mysterious illness that has left him drained of energy, hope and desire for human contact, Mona too retreated from life and deliberately stopped aspiring for success or happiness. Having turned her back on achievement as a track star and on sharing love, Mona still nourishes one source of happiness: the world of mathematics. Numbers, being clear and immutable, are Mona's salvation, as well as her job. She teaches arithmetic to second graders, having invented a zany curriculum in which her students find numbers everywhere in the environment. Kids love Mona, although she constantly and compulsively knocks on wood to keep disaster at bay. Everyone else seems unaware of her emotional isolation--but everyone else in this novel is also pretty strange. Mr. Jones, Mona's former high school math teacher, wears numbers around his neck to indicate his daily mood. Mona wears "an invisible sign of my own'' that denotes her fear and vulnerability. Then awkward, unsociable science teacher Michael Smith, who shares Mona's morbid imagination, breaks through her emotional reserve. Meanwhile, she has developed a particular fondness for seven-year-old Lisa Venus, who is actually experiencing the real terror of loss and abandonment that Mona fears: her mother is dying of cancer. In a satisfying denouement in which Bender brings the narrative full circle with astonishing dexterity, Mona discovers how to connect and live fully, and helps Lisa to navigate her own way through a frightening world. Readers may find the narrative too schematic and the characters exceptionally odd. On the other hand, Bender writes like an angel, with images that strike resonant chords, and her sly humor pervades every page. And those who are initially put off by the bizarre fairy tale that opens the narrative will be touched almost to tears when it comes full circle. Author tour. (July) FYI: Bender is the sister of Karen Bender, author of Like Normal People (Forecasts, Feb. 21).

popularity
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shortDescription

Aimee Bender's stunning debut collection, The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, proved her to be one of the freshest voices in American fiction. Now, in her first novel, she builds on that early promise.

Mona Gray was ten when her father contracted a mysterious illness and she became a quitter, abandoning each of her talents just as pleasure became intense. The only thing she can't stop doing is math: She knocks on wood, adds her steps, and multiplies people in the park against one another. When Mona begins teaching math to second-graders, she finds a ready audience. But the difficult and wonderful facts of life keep intruding. She finds herself drawn to the new science teacher, who has an unnerving way of seeing through her intricately built façade. Bender brilliantly directs her characters, giving them unexpected emotional depth and setting them in a calamitous world, both fancifully surreal and startlingly familiar.

BONUS...

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