It’s been said that the sense of smell has the ability to bring back memories more than any other. But what about taste? In Tina Connolly’s The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections, a baker and his wife use their baking prowess to unseat a dictator.
Using nothing but his memory.
Taken from his bakery, Danny, the creator of memory-trance-inducing treats is taken from his business and forced into the service of a tyrant king. Without an occupation or options, Saffron, Danny’s wife, offers herself to the king, who uses her wisely as the official taster. What baker could possibly poison his wife?
At the banquet of temporal confections, each pastry Saffron tastes takes us back, filling in the gaps of her experience. After taking a bite, she passes them on to the king. “Fennel Flatbread of Sunlit Days Gone By” and “Lemon Tart of Profound Regret”. An impossible array of beautiful mnemonic sequences. Is Danny going to poison Saffron and the king, or is each confection is building toward something?
Our stories make us who we are. It’s hard not to wonder, if one was forced to experience memories from a different vantage, would people change? Is there a humanity passed over in sociopaths, mass murderers, and dictators? Could you drown them in their evil memories for a lifetime, banished as though to hell?
Brilliantly effective and reminiscent of James Patrick Kelley’s The Rose Witch, The Banquet of Temporal Confections begs the question, if there was someone offering you the power to relive the best and worst parts of your life, what memory would you choose?
Furthermore, would you trust them to choose for you?
Even a saint’s life is filled with pain, but the pastries look delicious. Take a bite.
Categories: Book Reviews