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Her Body and Other Parties: Stories


Her Body and Other Parties: Stories

HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES is the hotly anticipated debut story collection from acclaimed writer Carmen Maria Machado, and this lyric masterpiece exceeds expectations.

Machado writes with an awakened awareness of women’s experiences that carries throughout. The stories span space, style and scope, but are unified by a vicious, vindicating consciousness of how women manifest in the world, and what the world can do to women.

In one story, a woman recounts her life through her intimate experiences with others as a growing plague steadily consumes humankind, the urgency mounting. In another, a woman takes a not-altogether-unfamiliar measure to lose weight, to loose herself of what it means to carry weight on a woman’s body, and gains a presence she cannot be rid of. In the novella “Especially Heinous,” a narrative unfolds in the shape of police procedural episode summaries, the toll of dead girls mounting, detectives proceeding, haunted by victims who can’t rest and the selves who are borne from persistent trauma.

"Machado writes with an awakened awareness of women’s experiences that carries throughout.... Do not miss this bitingly clever, astonishing work."

The measure of these stories is simply next level; there is no denying her evident expertise. Machado bends genres to her will, understanding the usual rhythms of fiction, memoir, criticism, lyric poetry, satire, sadness, identity and sex so well that she composes them into something fresh and alive in every story. She renders dark reality through the fantastic, and vice versa, elucidating levity and absurdity within the heaviness of some insurmountable truths.

These stories are at once apocalyptic, timeless and brutally timely. Within these pieces, Machado delivers fairy tales that are newly understood and uniquely imagined. They are merciless in their prescience, hearken to the gothic and pre-gothic origins of magic, and are rooted in the brutality of womanhood.

These stories explore what it means to be alive, but they do not approach this how you might think they will. They will seem familiar in surprising places. They invent, give voice and breathe life into stories that existed, but need to be told the way Machado tells them.

HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES has been selected as a finalist for the National Book Award in the Fiction category. Do not miss this bitingly clever, astonishing work.

Reviewed by Maya Gittelman on October 6, 2017

Her Body and Other Parties: Stories
by Carmen Maria Machado

  • Publication Date: October 3, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Short Stories
  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press
  • ISBN-10: 155597788X
  • ISBN-13: 9781555977887