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Her Body and Other Parties: Stories (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Reading the stories in Her Body and Other Parties has been among the memorable literary pleasures of 2017. Carmen Maria Machado writes with fearless exploration, precision, and tenderness that would prompt envy if gratitude and admiration weren’t first to arrive on the scene. From the lovely, apocalyptic love story “Inventory” to the dizzying and original “Especially Heinous,” Machado’s work is curious, inventive, and thrilling. It’s feminist and pop culture, classic and weird; the stories are complex and the characters are haunting. What a debut!

— Chorel

Carmen Maria Machado is entrancing - a beautiful, surreal, divine storywriter in the tradition of Helen Oyeyemi and Kelly Link. "The Husband Stitch" rattled my bones and was so fully engaging, a beautiful fairytale style of writing mingled with dark, contemporary grit, upending a well-known folktale's moment of fantastical horror to offer true-to-life implication about gender, ownership, and individual sovereignty. The second piece, "Mothers," is equally stunning, taking on the charater's perspective so fully that her own confusion and denial transforms into something like magical realism. The factual plot reaches out through a haze of the narrating character's longing, loss, and unreality to tug you in as a reader and ultimately slap you in the face. Who writes like this, so expertly bringing forward the darkest and most marginalized perspectives as beautiful and real in a surreal world? I love it. Postmodern, deftly woven, and an utter joy to read, I am so grateful for this talented author's debut.

— a.c.


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.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781555977887
ISBN-10: 155597788X
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Publication Date: October 3rd, 2017
Pages: 248
Language: English


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