Haunting, poignant, and evocative, Her Body and Other Parties is a treasure chest full of dark marvels, a Pandora’s Box you’ll want to open again and again. Inside, you’ll find stories as surreal as nightmares and as intimately personal as diary entries, disturbing you with their horrors even as they seduce you with their passion. If you let them, they will show you what it means to be human. Carmen Maria Machado is a genuine wonder, a radically original storyteller with staggering insight and astonishing emotive power. Her prose seems to have a heartbeat of its own, its veins pulsing with vital energy, its nerves throbbing with intense feeling. Even the most jaded readers will be moved by the music of Machado’s exquisite voice. Whether she is singing sweet melodies or screaming her throat raw, the sound never wavers in its resonant beauty. I never wanted to stop listening.— From Jason's Picks
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 naively assumed had shown it all, generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgangers, 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.
About the Author
Carmen Maria Machado's work has appeared in Granta, The New Yorker, NPR, Electric Literature, and elsewhere. She has been nominated for a Nebula Award and a Shirley Jackson Award, and was a finalist for the Calvino Prize. She lives in Philadelphia.