By Carmen Maria Machado
Finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction
“[These stories] vibrate with originality, queerness, sensuality and the strange.”–Roxane Gay
“In these formally brilliant and emotionally charged tales, Machado gives literal shape to women’s memories and hunger and desire. I couldn’t put it down.”–Karen Russell
In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.
A wife refuses her husband’s entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store’s prom dresses. One woman’s surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted houseguest. And in the bravura novella “Especially Heinous,” Machado reimagines every episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a show we naïvely assumed had shown it all, generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgängers, ghosts, and girls with bells for eyes.
Earthy and otherworldly, antic and sexy, queer and caustic, comic and deadly serious, Her Body and Other Parties swings from horrific violence to the most exquisite sentiment. In their explosive originality, these stories enlarge the possibilities of contemporary fiction.
In her provocative debut, Carmen Maria Machado demolishes the borders between magical realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism.
A wife refuses her husband’s entreaties to remove the mysterious green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague spreads across the earth. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery about a store’s dresses. One woman’s surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted house guest.
A dark, shimmering slice into womanhood, Her Body and Other Parties is wicked and exquisite.
About the Book
A prize-winning, genre-bending collection of short stories which has already achieved cult status
About the Author
Carmen Maria Machado is the author of Her Body and Other Parties, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and In the Dream House, which was the winner of the Rathbones Folio Prize. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and is the Abrams Artist-in-Residence at the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in Philadelphia with her wife.
Deliciously weird and dark and erotic and queer and smart and full of desire, and profoundly original, this is about the alienation of being a woman in a way you’ve never read before ― The Pool
A writer of rare daring … there’s a ragged glory to [the stories’] formal experimentation and erotic fearlessness, and the gusto with which they reinvent horror, SF and fairytale tropes. — Justine Jordan ― Guardian
Her Body and Other Parties is a love letter to an obstinate genre that won’t be gentrified. It’s a wild thing, this book, covered in sequins and scales, blazing with the influence of fabulists from Angela Carter to Kelly Link and Helen Oyeyemi, and borrowing from science fiction, queer theory and horror… Not since Karen Russell’s “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves,” in 2006, has a debut collection of short stories from a relatively unknown author garnered such attention, or deserved it more. — Parul Sehgal ― New York Times
Brilliant and unsettling … Machado ranks alongside Shirley Jackson and Margaret Atwood, and she brings all her (there should be a woman’s word to replace “mastery”) formidable skills to bear in this tale of the rent fabric of women’s lives … Machado’s narrators are articulate and thoughtful, with vivid internal lives. But she’s sharp enough at capturing the messiness of ordinary human behaviour to distinguish one character from the next, keeping the stories distinct and marking each with flares of stark beauty. Machado has rare gifts, disciplined by years of writing short stories for magazines, and her literary fearlessness has already been recognised in the US, where this collection was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Awards. The stories in Her Body and Other Parties, on the vulnerability and the appetites of women, their transgressions and their disappearances, have the depth of fairy tales and the grim acid rasp of the best horror fiction. You cannot wait for her to tell more of them. ― Financial Times
Those of us who knew have been waiting for a Carmen Maria Machado collection for years. Her stories show us what we really love and fear. — Alexander Chee
Machado’s verve shines through: macabre, erotic, and never quite what they initially seem, these aren’t stories that are easily dismissed. — Lucy Scholes
Daring … Machado has created a provocative blend of fabulism, feminism, magic realism and lashings of sex. ― Tatler
Striking … spellbinding … even the most banal settings become unnerving in Machado’s pen, and her images linger with the reader long after the last page has been turned. Although her voice is invigoratingly fresh, Her Body and Other Parties never reads like a debut collection. Rather, it reads like a writer at the height of her powers – confident and assured, fearless and experimental … it feels like discovering a well-kept secret you immediately want to share with everyone you know. — Kaite Welsh ― Diva
There are no reviews yet.