Her Body And Other Parties is Carmen Maria Machado’s short storybook that has received many awards and was nominated for many awards. I started reading the book chosen by my book club with great excitement and curiosity because I had heard great things about the author. When I finished the first story, The Husband Stitch, I said I hope all the other stories are just as good. Unfortunately, none of them impressed me as much as The Husband Stitch.
Her Body And Other Parties is a very experimental book with feminist as well as strange stories. Generally, I’m not too fond of experimental books, and these stories didn’t change my mind. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy Machado’s subtle depiction of violence or the strange environments she created, and I couldn’t get the message she wanted to convey properly. My mind was always stuck with the strangeness of the story rather than its message. But of course, there were also stories where I thought the author’s style shined, and I think this book can be read just for them.
The first story, The Husband Stitch, is a fabulous story that impresses the reader in every way. It clearly describes all the pressures women go through in their marriages and how anything private about them drives men crazy. On the other hand, The Resident impressed me a lot with its location, different characters, and interpretation of the female characters in the books. The story Inventory was a good one that started with a sex diary and turned into an exciting dystopia.
Her Body And Other Parties consists of dark, strange, tense and surprising, thought-provoking feminist stories. I would have liked to read a more in-depth literary work, but I still think these stories will appeal to most readers. Enjoy!
Her Body And Other Parties
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.
Carmen Maria Machado
Carmen Maria Machado is the author of the bestselling memoir In the Dream House and the award-winning short story collection Her Body and Other Parties. She has been a finalist for the National Book Award and the winner of the Bard Fiction Prize, the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction, the Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Nonfiction, the Brooklyn Public Library Literature Prize, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize. In 2018, the New York Times listed Her Body and Other Parties as a member of “The New Vanguard,” one of “15 remarkable books by women that are shaping the way we read and write fiction in the 21st century.”
Her essays, fiction, and criticism have appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Granta, Vogue, This American Life, Harper’s Bazaar, Tin House, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, The Believer, Guernica, Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has been awarded fellowships and residencies from the Guggenheim Foundation, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. She lives in Philadelphia and is the Abrams Artist-in-Residence at the University of Pennsylvania.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: