Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
Published by Greywolf Press on October 3rd 2017
Genres: Short Stories, Horror, Fantasy, Queer
“I understood that knowledge was a dwarfing, obliterating, all-consuming thing, and to have it was to both be grateful and to suffer greatly.”
This book is definitely not for the faint of heart or those who are triggered or uncomfortable by sexual content. Full of unreliable narrators and twisting plots, Carmen Maria Machado created something that first makes you viscerally feel and then makes you think.
Everything is raw and the prose is amazing, but for some of the stories I’m not sure if I’m smart enough to truly understand all the layers.
As I feel like everyone will have a different interpretation of each surreal story in this anthology, I find it hard to describe this collection.
So, instead, I give you these words to take as you will:
“Many people live and die without ever confronting themselves in the darkness.”
About the book
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.
Basically everything: from what I can remember there is definitely body horror, grief, fatphobia, body shaming, rape, death, murder, gore, mental illness, misogyny, vomit, miscarriage, abortion, medical content, medical trauma, cursing, self harm, suicide, child abuse, domestic violence, eating disorders, cannibalism, animal death, sexual content, sexual assault, physical abuse, and emotional abuse.
And there is probably even more tbh.