Her Body and Other Parties
A highly anticipated debut by one of the most ferociously gifted young writers working today (Michelle Huneven)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.

Her Body and Other Parties Details

TitleHer Body and Other Parties
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 3rd, 2017
PublisherGraywolf Press
ISBN-139781555977887
Rating
GenreShort Stories, Fiction, Feminism, Fantasy, Horror

Her Body and Other Parties Review

  • Roxane
    January 1, 1970
    The stories in Carmen Maria Machado’s 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.
    more
  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Carmen Maria Machado's Her Body and Other Parties is one of the most electrifying short story collections I've ever read. When I first heard about this book, I knew I had to get my hands on it immediately, and it did not disappoint! The inventive stories contained within are sensual, emotional, and creepy, and Machado is adept at combining magical realism, body horror, and feminism to create an exploration of women's bodies, their relationships to them, and how they are treated by the world. Mac Carmen Maria Machado's Her Body and Other Parties is one of the most electrifying short story collections I've ever read. When I first heard about this book, I knew I had to get my hands on it immediately, and it did not disappoint! The inventive stories contained within are sensual, emotional, and creepy, and Machado is adept at combining magical realism, body horror, and feminism to create an exploration of women's bodies, their relationships to them, and how they are treated by the world. Machado is a writer I will jump at the chance to read again.
    more
  • Ariadne
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't realize you could blend erotica, feminism, and body horror until I read this collection, and now I find myself wondering why this combination hasn't been in my life sooner. Machado has created one of the creepiest story collections I've ever read, and it is made all the more disturbing by not shying away from feminist themes. This deft blending of genres is perfect for exploring topics like the relationships women have with their bodies, and how those bodies are treated by others and so I didn't realize you could blend erotica, feminism, and body horror until I read this collection, and now I find myself wondering why this combination hasn't been in my life sooner. Machado has created one of the creepiest story collections I've ever read, and it is made all the more disturbing by not shying away from feminist themes. This deft blending of genres is perfect for exploring topics like the relationships women have with their bodies, and how those bodies are treated by others and society at large. Using both old familiar stories, like The Husband Stitch, and new ones, like Eight Bites, these stories scared me and made me think. If you're a fan of horror you should absolutely give this collection a read.Story By Story Impressions and Thoughts:The Husband Stitch - Brought new life to the old story of the woman who wears a ribbon around her neck.Inventory - An exploration of sexuality, and sexual encounters, and how those make us human and inform our sense of the world and self.Mothers - Themes of motherhood, and what that does and does not mean for different people.Especially Heinous - A dark supernatural re-magining of every episode of SVU, which made me actually want to sit down and watch SVU.Real Women Have Bodies - Dealt deftly with the visibility of women in society, ideas about beauty, and how appearance and presence are often enmeshed in our culture.Eight Bites - A story with a heart that revolves around body image and how many women hinge so much of their happiness on being thin.The Resident - Memory a moving target in this story as it addresses how the damages of the past show their scars on our art and our present.Difficult at Parties - A gut wrenching look at some of the shadows sexual assault casts across one's sexual landscape in the aftermath.
    more
  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    Carmen Maria Machado's debut novel, Her Body and Other Parties, is a collection of short stories that's equal parts haunting and comforting. Full of familiar horrors dressed up as bizarre, otherworldly experiences, this is the first book this year that gets a full five stars from me. Each story left me feeling unnerved in the best way and desperate to jump into the next one, even if I didn't necessarily have the time, and there wasn't a single tale that felt out of place in the collection.The fi Carmen Maria Machado's debut novel, Her Body and Other Parties, is a collection of short stories that's equal parts haunting and comforting. Full of familiar horrors dressed up as bizarre, otherworldly experiences, this is the first book this year that gets a full five stars from me. Each story left me feeling unnerved in the best way and desperate to jump into the next one, even if I didn't necessarily have the time, and there wasn't a single tale that felt out of place in the collection.The first story, The Husband Stitch, is a retelling of 'The Girl with the Green Ribbon Around Her Neck' with a twist: all women have ribbons tied somewhere. And chances are, if you're a woman reading the book, you too have a ribbon you're trying to keep tied. Machado subverts the monstrosity of modern femininity by creating literal monsters in Real Women Have Bodies and Eight Bites, and portrays queerness beautifully in varied lights all throughout the compilation. I truly loved this book and I can't wait to see what Machado comes up with in the future.
    more
  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    Beautifully written, incredibly queer, raw and brilliant and vicious. The Husband Stitch is the short story that brought Carmen Machado to my attention and its brilliance holds up months later on a reread. A lot of the other stories were beautiful, but I didn't fully GET them, so they might require a reread.
    more
  • Kerry Cullen
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book entirely. Eerie, queer, and gorgeously written, it pulled me into its world, enthralled me immediately, and hasn't let me go since. Machado's writing reminds me of Carter, Oyeyemi, Amelia Gray, and many more of my very favorites. She is one to watch.
    more
  • Diana Iozzia
    January 1, 1970
    When I receive a complementary galley from a publisher, I'm not always sure what to expect. I rarely read reviews of the book prior to opening it up, because I always feel I might become biased or read something I don't want to. I was very hopeful for this book, because my favorite type of reading to do is reading collections of short stories. The themes of romance, science fiction, comedy, horror, and psychological realism (that are mentioned on the back cover) intrigued me. There also is an un When I receive a complementary galley from a publisher, I'm not always sure what to expect. I rarely read reviews of the book prior to opening it up, because I always feel I might become biased or read something I don't want to. I was very hopeful for this book, because my favorite type of reading to do is reading collections of short stories. The themes of romance, science fiction, comedy, horror, and psychological realism (that are mentioned on the back cover) intrigued me. There also is an underlying theme of LGBT, which was interesting, as well as a teeny underlying tone of feminism. Neither of which made me interested in reading the book, because those topics I relate to, but they don't interest me. Also, I rarely have ever rated something as a 5 star. My 5 stars are often set for books that I would re-read over and over again. I'll probably read this book another 10 times in my lifetime. I truly rate this as a five star book. A five star review does not mean that I think the book is flawless, that every story intrigued me, that I sat on my bed in denial that I had finished it, but I was kind of disappointed that there wasn't anymore. I can tell you for a fact I will be watching for more books in the future by this author. Anyway, let's begin.The book is a collection of eight short stories. To review, I'll mention a little about each story, and my thoughts and opinions on it. "The Husband Stitch" is a great retelling of the classic kid's creepy story "The Girl with the Green Ribbon". I thoroughly enjoyed this adaptation, but was a bit disturbed by the lack of mentioning any resources or credits to this story, and the many other stories mentioned in the book, that were clearly ripped from "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" and "In a Dark, Dark Room". I loved this story as a kid, so I enjoyed the retelling, but didn't like the lack of citing sources."Inventory" was a woman listing her sex stories, but it frames around a viral outbreak and plague that engulfed the country. The sex stories were not the main focus, and I like how this was told to explain the plague."Mothers" is a very confusing and not very interesting story about a woman who adopts???? is given???? steals??? has??? a baby. I read through this twice, and I still really don't understand this story."Especially Heinous" is practically a fanfiction story of "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit", but with plots that have the lead detectives encountering supernatural beings. To be honest, I read about a page, and then skipped the entire rest of the story. Again, no credits. I'm surprised the author hasn't received a lawsuit."Real Women Have Bodies" is a very interesting Black Mirror-like story about a dress shop worker who discovers something strange about the dresses, in a world where women fade away randomly. It seems like it's a condition that's developing for all women, but I don't really understand the story fully, I think."Eight Bites" is about a woman who goes through bariatric surgery, who hallucinates that she sees the part of her person she removed from herself after the surgery. Weird. Confusing. Not the best out of the collection."The Resident" is probably the best story and most well-written story in this collection. I think it could have been wonderfully written into a novella or a novel of its own. In this story, our narrator visits a writer's retreat in the woods, meets many different and eclectic characters, and then suffers a very strange fever and a disturbing mental breakdown where she learns truths about herself. It's a very mysterious and strange read, and I don't know how to explain that anymore without giving it away. Lastly, the final story in the collection is called "Difficult at Parties". Our main character seems to have been raped or sexually assaulted in the past, and now she is trying to reappear and reenter the world she knows after her tragedy. She arrives at a party, and doesn't have the greatest experience.In conclusion, I absolutely loved this book. Certain stories I liked less, but this is a really cool and unique collection of stories. I highly recommend this. I will be storing this book in my collection for years to come.
    more
  • Izzie
    January 1, 1970
    Carmen Machado writes a brilliant and haunting collection of stories that portray femininity, queerness, erotica, and many more themes in altered perspectives. I found these stories utterly refreshing and diverging from the usual heteronormative storylines that mainstream media prefers. My favorite stories were "The Husband Stitch," "Inventory," and "Difficult at Parties." All three of these were vastly different but I found myself completely absorbed in the characters and plot. "The Husband Sti Carmen Machado writes a brilliant and haunting collection of stories that portray femininity, queerness, erotica, and many more themes in altered perspectives. I found these stories utterly refreshing and diverging from the usual heteronormative storylines that mainstream media prefers. My favorite stories were "The Husband Stitch," "Inventory," and "Difficult at Parties." All three of these were vastly different but I found myself completely absorbed in the characters and plot. "The Husband Stitch" was by far my favorite because of its many layers about relationships, sex, and a woman's experience. I am excited for the future prospects of Machado and will eagerly be waiting to see what she writes next.
    more
  • Donna
    January 1, 1970
    A collection of short stories that range from shocking to downright creepy.Good thing: My favorite story was "The Husband Stitch" about a woman who wears a green ribbon around her neck and won't let her husband remove it - until he does. A close second was "Difficult at Parties" which is told from the viewpoint of a woman who is recovering (but not really) from an assault.Bad thing: I didn't get "The Resident" about an author spending some time at an artist's residence. In general, I'm not a hug A collection of short stories that range from shocking to downright creepy.Good thing: My favorite story was "The Husband Stitch" about a woman who wears a green ribbon around her neck and won't let her husband remove it - until he does. A close second was "Difficult at Parties" which is told from the viewpoint of a woman who is recovering (but not really) from an assault.Bad thing: I didn't get "The Resident" about an author spending some time at an artist's residence. In general, I'm not a huge fan of short stories - I want more meat and more time for the story to develop. These short stories are that rare thing, a completely self-contained nugget in time that still delivers a powerful tale in and of themselves. I'll be keeping an eye open for more from the author.
    more
  • Hillary Smith
    January 1, 1970
    I adored every story in this enthralling debut collection. Machado tears into what it means to be a girl, a woman, a partner, a human and crawls inside to look around and inspect all their dark and beautiful aspects. These stories are strange, mesmerizing and terrifying. I cannot wait to devour whatever comes next form this wonderful author.
    more
  • Becky Spratford
    January 1, 1970
    Review on blog and in BOOKLIST http://raforall.blogspot.com/2017/09/...
  • James Wilcox
    January 1, 1970
    I was fortunate enough to be given an advance copy of Her Body & Other Parties by Graywolf a few months ago. It was given in good faith and there was no expectation of a positive review.That said, I'm giving the book a VERY positive review.I read "The Husband Stitch" late at night and was so shaken that I sat in a thoughtful stupor for several minutes before I went back through and started annotating. The story builds in a familiar way, with tropes and allusions to classic horror stories fro I was fortunate enough to be given an advance copy of Her Body & Other Parties by Graywolf a few months ago. It was given in good faith and there was no expectation of a positive review.That said, I'm giving the book a VERY positive review.I read "The Husband Stitch" late at night and was so shaken that I sat in a thoughtful stupor for several minutes before I went back through and started annotating. The story builds in a familiar way, with tropes and allusions to classic horror stories from when I was a child in an incredibly effective and terrifying way.The stand-out story, though, is the novella-length story "Especially Heinous" that re-imagines a majority of Law & Order: SVU as a surrealistic story that takes show protagonists Benson and Stabler on a strange adventure that makes them question their identity and their very sanity. I'm doing it absolutely no justice, but I've read it three times since I received the book and there's so much to it that I've found something different each time.It's often difficult for me to get through a single-author short story collection in a single sitting. Usually I'll read a story (maybe two) and then read a few books before going back to read another pair of stories, and so on until I've finished the collection. But much like Ray Bradbury, there are common themes but such a grand variety of ideas and plots within the stories in this collection that I burned through them in a two day period and was left wanting even more.There's a strain of horror through a majority of the stories, but feminism, queerness, and a dark sense of magic and realism licks at the corners of the collection. The plots are generally outlandish, but the characters feel real and honest.On Twitter, I said that I would never describe the stories as "fun" or other similar phrases. But these stories will suck the air from your lungs and leave you light-headed, invigorated, and (at times) slightly aroused.It's been a long time since I've read such a strong collection of diverse stories. If you're a fan of short story masters like Ray Bradbury, or Shirley Jackson (especially if you like the sci-fi, fantasy, and horror styles), there's a lot to enjoy. Brew a strong cup of tea (or add a kick of whiskey to your late-night coffee) and dig in.
    more
  • Puloma Mukherjee
    January 1, 1970
    I had read the "The Husband Stitch", the first story in this amazing collection by Carmen Maria Machado, a few months after my son was born. Now I didn't get a husband stitch after a vaginal birth, but I loved Machado's clever and effective use of the idea in her amazing story. Every single one of these stories shimmers with similar brilliance of her storytelling prowess. This collection houses some of the best queer and feminist literature I have read recently. "Inventory", her story that was o I had read the "The Husband Stitch", the first story in this amazing collection by Carmen Maria Machado, a few months after my son was born. Now I didn't get a husband stitch after a vaginal birth, but I loved Machado's clever and effective use of the idea in her amazing story. Every single one of these stories shimmers with similar brilliance of her storytelling prowess. This collection houses some of the best queer and feminist literature I have read recently. "Inventory", her story that was originally published in Strange Horizons follows a bisexual woman as through her sex life, as she and the world grapple with the oncoming apocalypse.The last line of the story "Mother" will strike a chord with any couple with children. "Real Women Have Bodies" is my favorite kind of story, in which an important and powerful allegory manifests as an inescapable and widespread phenomenon. These stories touch on a wide range issues delicately but effectively. I loved each one!
    more
  • Ted Mccombs
    January 1, 1970
    One of the most extraordinary books I've read in years, "Her Body & Other Parties" blends a bold, absolutely winning literary sensibility with speculative invention. To call it domestic horror seems too small; rather, Machado marshals the power of weirdness and menace to explore the dark human places of sexuality, relationship, and social dread. And the writing is gorgeous. If for no other reason, read this for the genre-busting "Extremely Heinous," a reinvention of all 12 seasons of Law &am One of the most extraordinary books I've read in years, "Her Body & Other Parties" blends a bold, absolutely winning literary sensibility with speculative invention. To call it domestic horror seems too small; rather, Machado marshals the power of weirdness and menace to explore the dark human places of sexuality, relationship, and social dread. And the writing is gorgeous. If for no other reason, read this for the genre-busting "Extremely Heinous," a reinvention of all 12 seasons of Law & Order:SVU that teases out the uncanny and dreadful ordinariness of the show's premise. I'm going to be raving about this collection until they lock me away.
    more
  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    I won this as a Goodreads giveaway. Unique. Complicated. Haunting. Ferocious. I'm not sure if I walked away with a full understanding of the gruesome storylines of each of these journeys. On the surface level, I grasped the characters and what each brought and gave to the story. I would definitely want to dig deeper and discuss these in more of a group setting. The complications and parallels between stories are deep and deserve a multitude of perspectives to uncover hidden layers of interpretat I won this as a Goodreads giveaway. Unique. Complicated. Haunting. Ferocious. I'm not sure if I walked away with a full understanding of the gruesome storylines of each of these journeys. On the surface level, I grasped the characters and what each brought and gave to the story. I would definitely want to dig deeper and discuss these in more of a group setting. The complications and parallels between stories are deep and deserve a multitude of perspectives to uncover hidden layers of interpretation.
    more
  • Brynn
    January 1, 1970
    This is one of the best short story collections that I have ever read. Machado masterfully weaves the fantastical into the everyday with her stories. Each one feels uniquely haunted, and each in a way that will stay with me. While my favorite may have been “The Resident” for the way that it deals with memory and trauma, there isn’t a single story here that I didn’t love. Strange, erotic, uncanny, queer, and at turns both creepy and tender—a must-read.
    more
  • Hannah Fenster
    January 1, 1970
    The bodies in Machado's stories are fluid and haunted and, most of all, unavoidably present. Queer, creative, and stubborn, they crackle with urgency - SEE ME - and often burst into flame. I cannot shake the feeling that Machado has listened, deeply, to internal rhythms, then translated them for us. These stories will change the way you think about the things we cannot change about ourselves. They will make you look.
    more
  • David
    January 1, 1970
    There's some serious undertow in these stories. The reader is really pulled in, not being able to ignore a certain note of menace often waiting just out of sight underneath. Imaginative and well constructed. Nice work.
  • Dai
    January 1, 1970
    Ideal for fans of Margaret Atwood. Combines minor speculative elements with some harsh, feminist fables about women's everyday lives. A little bit creepy, but mostly a delight. The way she can make a seemingly random list of objects become a haunting meditation on quotidian drama is breathtaking.
    more
  • Kokie
    January 1, 1970
    Cleaver, revealing, and powerful. Each story was so different from the next, but each showed the truth behind a woman's strength. I found the stories compelling, and once started, it was hard to put the collection down. I look forward to Machado next project.
    more
  • Sharon
    January 1, 1970
    A spectacular book, and such an interesting reading experience right after Roxane Gay's stories. These also explore women's anger, fear, vulnerability, desire, in ways that tiptoe into magic and otherworldliness. These are dreamy while Gay's are earthy. All magnificent and haunting.
    more
  • Angel
    January 1, 1970
    Nothing makes pink taffeta pop like a dark void.Carmen Maria Machado's debut collection of short stories will keep you awake, slide an icy finger down your nape, leave you wondering about the shadows on the wall beside your lamp, and the craggy spaces in between.
    more
  • Stephany
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Stars
  • Thom
    January 1, 1970
    I ahve been so blessed this is another phenomenal read
  • Sam
    January 1, 1970
    Some stories are good, some aren't. It's a mixed lot.
  • Scott Neuffer
    January 1, 1970
    Utterly brilliant. Every man should read "The Husband Stitch."
  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    In a word: wow.This book already has lots of hype behind it but it's worth every rave. Shirley Jackson in the age of Black Mirror. Beautiful, creepy, thought-provoking stories.
  • Nina
    January 1, 1970
    Six stars, really. I would like six.
  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    A twisted and original debut collection from a dementedly talented writer! Sinuous, sinister, and surreal, Carmen Maria Machado's stories are full of heart, horror, and healing in equal measures. Each story in HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES is a dark, shimmering cut into the human psyche, exploring the twists and turns of women's existence, the shadows that haunt their minds, and the physical and psychological damage done unto them over the course of their lives. Arresting and unforgettable.
    more
  • Holger
    January 1, 1970
    It's intimidating writing a review for Machado's "Her Body and Other Parties" because it's so good that I'm worried I'll undersell it. It contains a perfect blend of eeriness, humor, magical realism, the mundane, defamiliarization of pop culture, holding real life under a microscope, and a whole bunch of other things I'm sure I've left out. When I read the first story, "The Husband Stitch," I knew I held a special book in my hands. After reading "Real Women Have Bodies," I realized I was reading It's intimidating writing a review for Machado's "Her Body and Other Parties" because it's so good that I'm worried I'll undersell it. It contains a perfect blend of eeriness, humor, magical realism, the mundane, defamiliarization of pop culture, holding real life under a microscope, and a whole bunch of other things I'm sure I've left out. When I read the first story, "The Husband Stitch," I knew I held a special book in my hands. After reading "Real Women Have Bodies," I realized I was reading the work of a genius. Time is better spent reading this book than reading about it, so pick up a copy at first opportunity.
    more
Write a review