Finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction “[These stories] vibrate with originality, queerness, sensuality and the strange.”—Roxane Gay “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 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 naïvely assumed had shown it all, generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgängers, 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
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A revolutionary memoir about domestic abuse by the award-winning author of Her Body and Other Parties In the Dream House is Carmen Maria Machado’s engrossing and wildly innovative account of a relationship gone bad, and a bold dissection of the mechanisms and cultural representations of psychological abuse. Tracing the full arc of a harrowing relationship with a charismatic but volatile woman, Machado struggles to make sense of how what happened to her shaped the person she was becoming. And it’s that struggle that gives the book its original structure: each chapter is driven by its own narrative trope—the haunted house, erotica, the bildungsroman—through which Machado holds the events up to the light and examines them from different angles. She looks back at her religious adolescence, unpacks the stereotype of lesbian relationships as safe and utopian, and widens the view with essayistic explorations of the history and reality of abuse in queer relationships. Machado’s dire narrative is leavened with her characteristic wit, playfulness, and openness to inquiry. She casts a critical eye over legal proceedings, fairy tales, Star Trek, and Disney villains, as well as iconic works of film and fiction. The result is a wrenching, riveting book that explodes our ideas about what a memoir can do and be.
Today’s readers of science fiction and fantasy have an appetite for stories that address a wide variety of voices, perspectives, and styles. There is an openness to experiment and pushing boundaries, combined with the classic desire to read about space ships and dragons, future technology and ancient magic, and the places where they intersect. Contemporary science fiction and fantasy looks to accomplish the same goal as ever—to illuminate what it means to be human. With a diverse selection of stories chosen by series editor John Joseph Adams and guest editor N. K. Jemisin, The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018 explores the ever-expanding and changing world of SFF today, with Jemisin bringing her lyrical, endlessly curious point of view to the series’ latest edition.
LIGHTSPEED is an online science fiction and fantasy magazine. In its pages, you will find science fiction: from near-future, sociological soft SF, to far-future, star-spanning hard SF--and fantasy: from epic fantasy, sword-and-sorcery, and contemporary urban tales, to magical realism, science-fantasy, and folktales. Ever wonder what it would be like if archaeology could skip digging in the dirt and just go straight to excavating time? Caroline M. Yoachim explores just this idea in her new short story "The Archronology of Love." Our cover art this month, from Reiko Murakami, illustrates this story. Our other original SF short is by Matthew Corradi ("Gundark Island, or Tars Tarkas Needs Your Help"), taking us adventuring with a group of boys and their very interesting companion. You can also enjoy SF reprints by Cory Doctorow ("To Market, To Market: The Branding of Billy Bailey") and Michael Swanwick ("The She-Wolf's Hidden Grin"). Ashok K. Banker's Legends of the Burnt Empire series comes to an explosive conclusion in "The Seeds of War," a new story about Vrath and the terrible repercussions of his vows. Shweta Adhyam takes a look at the pros and cons of prophecy in her new story "A Conch-Shell's Notes." We also have fantasy reprints by Carmen Maria Machado ("Blur") and Carrie Vaughn ("The Lady of Shalott"). All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author spotlights, along with our book and media review columns. We also have an interview with Rebecca Roanhorse. For our ebook readers, we also have a reprint of the novella "The Speed of Belief," by Robert Reed. You can also enjoy an excerpt from the novel UPON A BURNING THRONE, by Ashok K. Banker.
“What’s special about ‘Cat Person,’ and the rest of the stories in You Know You Want This, is the author’s expert control of language, character, story—her ability to write stories that feel told, and yet so unpretentious and accessible that we think they must be true.” —The New York Times Book Review “Kristen Roupenian isn’t just an uncannily great writer, she also knows things about the human psyche—things that I always supposed I would learn at some point, but never did. Some of these things are about men’s minds in particular and I’m pretty sure she’s right. The world has made a lot more sense since reading this book.” —Miranda July, New York Times bestselling author of The First Bad Man “If you think you know what this collection will be like, you’re wrong. These stories are sharp and perverse, dark and bizarre, unrelenting and utterly bananas. I love them so, so much.” —Carmen Maria Machado, National Book Award Finalist and author of Her Body and Other Parties A compulsively readable collection of short stories that explore the complex—and often darkly funny—connections between gender, sex, and power across genres. You Know You Want This brilliantly explores the ways in which women are horrifying as much as it captures the horrors that are done to them. Among its pages are a couple who becomes obsessed with their friend hearing them have sex, then seeing them have sex…until they can’t have sex without him; a ten-year-old whose birthday party takes a sinister turn when she wishes for “something mean”; a woman who finds a book of spells half hidden at the library and summons her heart’s desire: a nameless, naked man; and a self-proclaimed “biter” who dreams of sneaking up behind and sinking her teeth into a green-eyed, long-haired, pink-cheeked coworker. Spanning a range of genres and topics—from the mundane to the murderous and supernatural—these are stories about sex and punishment, guilt and anger, the pleasure and terror of inflicting and experiencing pain. These stories fascinate and repel, revolt and arouse, scare and delight in equal measure. And, as a collection, they point a finger at you, daring you to feel uncomfortable—or worse, understood—as if to say, “You want this, right? You know you want this.”
"A wild, brutal paean to freedom. . . . Somers' feminism is profound, and complicated." —NPR "A surreal, nightmarish book about women's struggle for autonomy—and how that struggle is (always, inevitably) met with violence." —Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties A groundbreaking feminist classic from 1950s Uruguay, The Naked Woman was met with scandal and outrage due to its erotic content, cynicism, and stylistic ingenuity. The novel follows Rebeca Linke's ardent, ultimately tragic, attempt to free herself from a hostile society. Juxtaposing fantastic imagery and brutal depictions of violence, Somers will resonate with readers of Clarice Lispector, Angela Carter, and Djuna Barnes.
"A Girl's Guide to Personal Hygiene is everything I never knew I wanted: a disgusting, hilarious, and honest book that pays tribute to the female body and all of its habits and suppurations. It is delightfully and uncomfortably relatable and I love it with my whole self—heart, sweat, bowels, and all."—Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties We sniff our knickers; we bite our own toenails; we laboriously dig out ingrown hairs: Women aren't as ladylike as people would like to imagine. Using anecdotes collected from hundreds of anonymous sources, this gleefully disgusting illustrated book rewrites our definition of femininity. One day, the artist Tallulah Pomeroy overhead a conversation between two girls about another friend of theirs they knew in college. Apparently, when this friend had been on tour with the rugby team, she'd drunkenly 'done a shit in the sink.' 'She's not a girl if she did that,' said one to the other. 'She may have a vagina, but she's not a girl.' This exchange made Tallulah laugh, but it also made her think. How many things had her friends done that meant they 'weren't girls?' She made a Facebook group and asked people to submit stories about their 'unladylike' behaviors. The page was soon flooded with more stories than she could have ever imagined: about ear wax and trapped wind, gray pubes and bloody pajamas. It became a community of honest, funny, and supportive women, who, by admitting to things they'd thought were shameful, no longer had to feel ashamed. For A Girl's Guide to Personal Hygiene, Tallulah made original illustrations to accompany a selection of those Facebook posts—plus dozens more from an expanded call for submissions—to create an exuberant and galvanizing handbook for all the nasty women of the world.
“In these kaleidoscopic stories of Jamaica and its diaspora we hear many voices at once: some cultivated, some simple, some wickedly funny, some deeply melancholic. All of them shine.”—Zadie Smith Named one of Entertainment Weekly’s “Hot Summer Reads of 2018” and BuzzFeed’s “Summer Books to Get Excited About” Tenderness and cruelty, loyalty and betrayal, ambition and regret—Alexia Arthurs navigates these tensions to extraordinary effect in her debut collection about Jamaican immigrants and their families back home. Sweeping from close-knit island communities to the streets of New York City and midwestern university towns, these eleven stories form a portrait of a nation, a people, and a way of life. In “Light-Skinned Girls and Kelly Rowlands,” an NYU student befriends a fellow Jamaican whose privileged West Coast upbringing has blinded her to the hard realities of race. In “Mash Up Love,” a twin’s chance sighting of his estranged brother—the prodigal son of the family—stirs up unresolved feelings of resentment. In “Bad Behavior,” a couple leave their wild teenage daughter with her grandmother in Jamaica, hoping the old ways will straighten her out. In “Mermaid River,” a Jamaican teenage boy is reunited with his mother in New York after eight years apart. In “The Ghost of Jia Yi,” a recently murdered student haunts a despairing Jamaican athlete recruited to an Iowa college. And in “Shirley from a Small Place,” a world-famous pop star retreats to her mother’s big new house in Jamaica, which still holds the power to restore something vital. Alexia Arthurs emerges in this vibrant, lyrical, intimate collection as one of fiction’s most dynamic and essential authors. Advance praise for How to Love a Jamaican “Arthurs’s debut collection of short stories is an impressive, fully realized work that grapples with Jamaican womanhood. . . . Arthurs offers a compassionate response with these tender portraits of hard women, lost girls, and the people who love them.”—The Village Voice “In vibrant, evocative prose, Arthurs brings these characters, and their varied experiences of a shared home, to life.”—BuzzFeed “Alexia Arthurs is a writer of beauty, wit, and precision; these stories will grab you by the heart. This is a boss collection.”—NoViolet Bulawayo, author of We Need New Names
"Etter brilliantly, viciously lays bare what it means to be a woman in the world, what it means to hurt, to need, to want, so much it consumes everything." --Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist "I loved every page of this gorgeous, grotesque, heartbreaking novel." --Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties A surreal exploration of one woman's life and death against a landscape of meat, office desks, and bad men. The Book of X tells the tale of Cassie, a girl born with her stomach twisted in the shape of a knot. From childhood with her parents on the family meat farm, to a desk job in the city, to finally experiencing love, she grapples with her body, men, and society, all the while imagining a softer world than the one she is in. Twining the drama of the everyday -- school-age crushes, paying bills, the sickness of parents -- with the surreal -- rivers of thighs, men for sale, and fields of throats -- Cassie's realities alternate to create a blurred, fantastic world of haunting beauty.
On its 150th anniversary, four acclaimed authors offer personal reflections on their lifelong engagement with Louisa May Alcott's classic novel of girlhood and growing up. For the 150th anniversary of Louisa May Alcott's beloved classic, Kate Bolick, Jenny Zhang, Carmen Maria Machado, and Jane Smiley explore their strong lifelong personal engagement with Little Women--what it has meant to them and why it still matters. Each takes as her subject one of the four March sisters, reflecting on each particular sister's story and what it has to teach us. Bolick writes about how the depiction of Meg as the "ideal woman" reveals Alcott's dim views of marriage and planted seeds in Bolick's own young mind. Zhang, unlike many readers, considered Jo her least favorite sister as a girl, and writes about how Jo eventually won her heart. Machado brings her SF and horror sensibilities to a unique perspective on Beth, "dead & pure girl extraordinaire"; and Smiley, who considers Amy the most captivating sister, writes about Amy's evolution into the responsibilities of adulthood from the perspective of Smiley's own experience of motherhood. These four voices come together to form a deep, funny, far-ranging meditation on the power of great literature to shape our lives.