“The Rememberer”

This week’s published piece is “The Rememberer”  by Aimee Bender who is the author of The Girl in the Flammable Skirt (a NY Times Notable Book), An Invisible Sign of My Own (an L.A. Times pick of the year), Willful Creatures, and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, which recently won the SCIBA award for best fiction. She is best known for her use of surrealism. This story is from her first collection of short stories.

  • “The Rememberer” covers a relatively long time period. What techniques does Bender use to write through so much time without making the story feel rushed?
  • Annie regularly thinks about wishing. She wishes as she kisses Ben’s neck and as she looks for a star no one has wished on before. She even thinks about the people on the beach wishing. Why is wishing important to her?
  • How does Bender’s surrealism change a simple story about a relationship?
  • Annie says she and Ben would “sit together and be sad,” and that this “was a large reason why [she] loved him.” Are there signs of other reasons why Annie is attracted to Ben or Ben is attracted to Annie? Can a relationship based on shared sadness be successful? What is Annie sad about?
  • “The Rememberer” has a retrospective narrator—Annie is looking back at events that happened in the past. Why did Bender choose this sort of narrative voice rather than one that has less temporal distance from the events?

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