Book to Read: Her Body and Other Parties

Written by Carmen Maria Machado and published in 2017, Her Body and Other Parties is a short story collection taking on themes of psychological realism, science fiction, comedy, horror, and fantasy. Machado has been compared to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, but has a distinct, individual voice unlike anything we’ve read before.

 

Strange and seductive, this collection of stories bends genre to re-write well-known stories (as in The Husband Stitch) and shape new, startling narratives. She threads themes of women’s lives and bodily violence through every story in the collection, producing some of the most beautiful and memorable prose of the year. Additionally, Machado has received attention for her treatment of queerness in her stories; rather than drawing attention to character sexuality, she simply pushes on—deviant sexuality is the most normative characteristic of each story.

 

This book was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Nebula Award for Best Novelette. Machado’s stories have been reprinted in Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy, Best Horror of the Year, The New Voices of Fantasy, and Best Women’s Erotica. Achado earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has received fellowships and residencies from the Michener-Copernicus Foundation, the Elizabeth George Foundation, the CINTAS Foundation, the Speculative Literature Foundation, the University of Iowa, the Yaddo Corporate, Hedgebrook, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. She is currently the Artist in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania.

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