Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
I’d heard of Her Body and Other Parties because I’d heard of Carmen Maria Machado’s short story, “The Husband Stitch.” If you’ve read it, you’ll also want to read this incredible piece from Electric Literature, which comments on the significance of the piece and why it is so difficult for women to be believed. It struck an incredible chord. When I saw the book at an independent bookstore for a conference, I broke my no-buy rule and acquired it. I read it over the week of my Florida vacation and found it to be electrifying as a whole.
This is a collection of short stories, all different from each other. “The Husband Stitch” is incredible, but truthfully, they’re all memorable and fascinating. “Inventory” combines an inventory of sexual encounters with a dystopian and pandemic setting, something I had never considered. “Especially Heinous” reimagines Law and Order: Special Victims Unit from a gothic and phantasmagorical perspective. “Real Women Have Bodies” looks at a world where women fade away from their bodies with only spirits to reside. And “The Resident” looks at a woman who is a resident author at a mountain retreat and fears that her mind is slipping. Like I said, all the works are memorable, and there are only about eight stories, so they read fairly quickly.
Machado is an incredible writer. I don’t know what more to say besides that I devoured the collection and savored the writing all throughout. Machado combines the gothic and queer in ways I had never imagined. Her work is creepy and funny all at once. I look forward to her next writing venture, and I’ll be recommending Her Body and Other Parties to everyone.