Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado [review by Sandra de Helen]

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado 2017
Graywolf Press 241 pp.
 
I read this book because it won this year’s Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction. It won numerous other awards as well.
 
The author has been published in Granta and other prestigous journals. The opening story, The Husband Stitch, is fantastical, erotic, and horrific by turns. Machado tackles all sorts of realities of women’s lives in this genre-bending collection.
 
I was fascinated by every one of the stories in the collection except “Especially Heinous,” which is a sort of fan-fiction record of Law and Order’s SVU series. I’m not a fan of the series, having seen maybe 5-10% of the episodes. I read and enjoyed several pages of the story before checking to see how much longer it went on. Too long for me. But I’ve no doubt that fans of SVU will love the story.
 
Her take on writer’s residencies and the trope of the mad woman in the attic is delightful in its self-awareness and horror. I look forward to her next book, whether novel, memoir, or story collection.