Her Body And Other Parties

Her Body And Other Parties

3.88 (68,273 ratings by Goodreads)
3.88 (68,273 ratings by Goodreads)

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'Brilliantly inventive and blazingly smart' Garth Greenwell

'Impossible, imperfect, unforgettable' Roxane Gay

'A wild thing ... covered in sequins and scales, blazing with the influence of fabulists from Angela Carter to Kelly Link and Helen Oyeyemi' New York Times

In her provocative debut, Carmen Maria Machado demolishes the borders between magical realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. Startling narratives map the realities of women's lives and the violence visited on their bodies, both in myth and in practice.

A wife refuses her husband's entreaties to remove the mysterious green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague spreads across the earth. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery about a store's dresses. One woman's surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted house guest.

Bodies become inconsequential, humans become monstrous, and anger becomes erotic. A dark, shimmering slice into womanhood, Her Body and Other Parties is wicked and exquisite.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 138 x 204 x 26mm | 379g
  • Serpent's Tail
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • 1781259526
  • 9781781259528
  • 55,534

Review quote

Her Body and Other Parties is a love letter to an obstinate genre that won't be gentrified. It's a wild thing, this book, covered in sequins and scales, blazing with the influence of fabulists from Angela Carter to Kelly Link and Helen Oyeyemi, and borrowing from science fiction, queer theory and horror... Not since Karen Russell's "St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves," in 2006, has a debut collection of short stories from a relatively unknown author garnered such attention, or deserved it more. -- Parul Sehgal * New York Times * A writer of rare daring ... there's a ragged glory to [the stories'] formal experimentation and erotic fearlessness, and the gusto with which they reinvent horror, SF and fairytale tropes. -- Justine Jordan * Guardian * Brilliant and unsettling ... Machado ranks alongside Shirley Jackson and Margaret Atwood, and she brings all her (there should be a woman's word to replace "mastery") formidable skills to bear in this tale of the rent fabric of women's lives ... Machado's narrators are articulate and thoughtful, with vivid internal lives. But she's sharp enough at capturing the messiness of ordinary human behaviour to distinguish one character from the next, keeping the stories distinct and marking each with flares of stark beauty. Machado has rare gifts, disciplined by years of writing short stories for magazines, and her literary fearlessness has already been recognised in the US, where this collection was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Awards. The stories in Her Body and Other Parties, on the vulnerability and the appetites of women, their transgressions and their disappearances, have the depth of fairy tales and the grim acid rasp of the best horror fiction. You cannot wait for her to tell more of them. * Financial Times * Brilliantly inventive and blazingly smart, these stories have the life-and-death stakes of nightmares and fairy tales; they're full of urgent, almost unbearable reality. Carmen Machado is an extraordinary writer, an essential voice -- Garth Greenwell The stories in Her Body and Other Parties vibrate with originality, queerness, sensuality and the strange. Her voracious imagination and extraordinary voice beautifully bind these stories about fading women and the end of the world and men who want more when they've been given everything and bodies, so many human bodies taking up space and straining the seams of skin in impossible, imperfect, unforgettable ways -- Roxane Gay Machado's verve shines through: macabre, erotic, and never quite what they initially seem, these aren't stories that are easily dismissed. -- Lucy Scholes * Independent * Daring ... Machado has created a provocative blend of fabulism, feminism, magic realism and lashings of sex. * Tatler * Striking ... spellbinding ... even the most banal settings become unnerving in Machado's pen, and her images linger with the reader long after the last page has been turned. Although her voice is invigoratingly fresh, Her Body and Other Parties never reads like a debut collection. Rather, it reads like a writer at the height of her powers - confident and assured, fearless and experimental ... it feels like discovering a well-kept secret you immediately want to share with everyone you know. -- Kaite Welsh * Diva * Machado's work is visceral: tender, harrowing and sensual, it crawls right under the skin of your imagination. * SFX * A provocative and powerful collection -- Sarah Shaffi * Stylist * Part punk rock and part classical, with stories that are raw and devastating but also exquisitely plotted and full of delight. This is a strong, dangerous, and blisteringly honest book-it's hard to think of it as a 'debut,' it's that good -- Jeff Vandermeer Carmen Maria Machado's Her Body and Other Parties tells ancient fables of eros and female metamorphosis in fantastically new ways. She draws the secret world of the body into visibility, and illuminates the dark woods of the psyche. 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 Her Body and Other Parties will delight you, hurt you, and astonish you as only the smartest literature can. In this collection Machado blends horror, fairy tale, pop culture and myth in mesmerizing ways that feel utterly new. These stories are peerless and brilliant -- Alissa Nutting An astonishing and supple debut. Carmen Maria Machado shuffles together fantastic, realistic, popular, and literary genres and then deals winning hand after winning hand. Whether it is reworking fairy tales, rewriting the entire run of Law and Order into a grim fantasy, or diving into unchartered territory entirely Machado's own, Her Body and Other Parties is a deft and thoughtful reclaiming of both literature and genre -- Brian Evenson Carmen Maria Machado has a vital, visceral, umbilical connection to the places deep within the soul from where stories emanate. With a tenderness that is both touching and terrifying, Her Body and Other Parties gives insight into a cluster of worlds linked by their depth of feeling and penetrating strangeness -- Alexandra Kleeman Those of us who knew have been waiting for a Carmen Maria Machado collection for years. Her stories show us what we really love and fear -- Alexander Chee What Carmen Maria Machado has done with this collection is nothing less than stunning. Just when you think you've figured her out, she unveils another layer of story, so unexpected, so profound, it leaves you gasping -- Lesley Arimah Caustic and comic ... Machado's talent and imagination are visceral and voracious * Red * Carmen Maria Machado is the way forward. Her fiction is fearlessly inventive, socially astute, sometimes pointed, sometimes elliptical, and never quite what you're expecting-yet behind it you can always hear that ancient tale-teller's voice, bartering for your attention with its dangers and its mysteries, its foolhardy characters pulled this way and that by the ropes of their emotions. Which is to say simply this: that there is at once the breath of the new about these stories and the breath of the timeless -- Kevin Brockmeier With her lush, generative imagination, shimmering language, and utter fearlessness, Carmen Maria Machado is surely one of most ferociously gifted young writers working today....Hilariously inventive, emotionally explosive, wonderfully sexy, Machado's stories will carry you far from home, upend your reality, and sew themselves to your soul -- Michelle Huneven Carmen Maria Machado is amazing. A form-bending fabulist in the tradition of Kevin Brockmeier, Kelly Link, and Karen Russell, she gleefully seeks out weird shapes and subjects for every story....She writes uncanny, creepy, sexy, funny, feminist, magical-realist, metafictional, pop-cultural, and all-of-the-above stories, and she seems determined never to write the same story twice. Yet for all of its wildly inventive variety, Her Body and Other Parties is unified by the one story it keeps finding new ways to tell: how women can survive in worlds that want them to disappear, whether into marriage, motherhood, death, or (literally) prom dresses -- Bennett Sims Carmen Maria Machado writes a new kind of fiction: brilliant, blindingly weird, and precisely attuned to the perils and sorrows of the times -- Ben Marcus Machado's debut collection brings together eight stories that showcase her fluency in the bizarre, magical, and sharply frightening depths of the imagination... a blistering exploration of female desire and the insidious entitlement that society claims over the female body... Machado writes with furious grace. * Kirkus Reviews (Starred) * An intimate, unrelenting style that grabs you by the throat and sinks its perfectly-polished nails in * Harper's Bazaar * forceful ... Machado's work, like her characters, is accessible and nuanced, textured without being overwrought -- Lauren Kane * Paris Review * Machado creates an eerie, inventive world shimmering with supernatural swerves in this engrossing debut collection. Her stories make strikingly feminist moves by combining elements of horror and speculative fiction with women's everyday crises... Queerness permeates these tales, shaping the women and their problems, with a recurring focus on the inherent strangeness of female bodies. ... Machado's slightly slanted world echoes our own in ways that will entertain, challenge, and move readers * Publisher's Weekly, Starred Review * Between its covers we find ourselves inside a gorgeously warped reflection of the world in which we actually live. It's recognisable as our own, but everything is a little more lurid, a little more queer, a little more violent, a little more magical than what we're used to * Nylon Magazine * Once in a while, you read a debut that rattles your psyche in ways you can't fully explain, and this is one such book ... these strange, paradigm-breaking fictions shimmer with truth * Oprah.com * Carmen Maria Machado subverts the known world and its expectations in her ingenious debut story collection ... Reading it is a heady and unnerving, sometimes horrifying, experience that opens up human identity as if it were a flower ... Machado conjures monsters and angels that, in the light of her deft yet sensuous prose, become painfully recognisable ... few writers can successfully blend trenchant wit aimed at machoism and misogyny with truly creepy gothic imagery ... Machado pulls everything together with bravura. * Shelf Awareness * Ms. Machado's stories are frank, sensual ... deliver high-voltage shocks to the system. The others show how difficult it is to outpace the status quo * Wall Street Journal * Machado's stories inspire horror as well as sympathy * Washington Post * an abrupt, original, and wild collection of stories... enshrines a particular kind of young female culture - ghost stories, girl scout camp stories, urban legends ... in a way that reinforces the sincere uncanny power and reach of those stories. * NPR * twistedly original and thrilling * Chicago Tribune * Deliciously weird and dark and erotic and queer and smart and full of desire, and profoundly original, this is about the alienation of being a woman in a way you've never read before. -- Zoe Beaty * The Pool * Hums with a sinister, queer, sexy originality. Formally tight and gripping, the stories in this debut book range from science fiction to fantasy, from comedy to horror, all the while breaking down any neat generic category ... The opening tale, The Husband Stitch , is brilliantly weird - both sexy and frightening. In it, the narrator, who has a mysterious green ribbon tied around her neck, recounts her relationship with her husband. The story's ending is daring and strange, and shows just how inventive Machado is prepared to be, setting the stage for the women who follow: one who recounts her sex life as a devastating plague covers the Earth, another who has weight-loss surgery and ends up with an unwanted house guest. A provocative and strange book deserving of a wide audience. * Irish Times *
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About Carmen Maria Machado

Carmen Maria Machado is the author of Her Body and Other Parties, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and In the Dream House, which was the winner of the Rathbones Folio Prize. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and is the Abrams Artist-in-Residence at the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in Philadelphia with her wife.
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Rating details

68,273 ratings
3.88 out of 5 stars
5 31% (20,853)
4 37% (25,351)
3 24% (16,086)
2 7% (4,798)
1 2% (1,185)
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