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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2017 Carmen Maria Machado (P)2017 HighBridge, a Division of Recorded Books

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful

Poignant and heartbreakingly accurate fiction. Good read if you're a woman and feel like nobody understands you... Machado reaches down into every cobwebbed corner of the female experience and closely examines what she finds.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

No breaks between stories

Any additional comments?

Unfortunately, this audiobook is hampered by kind of a dumb and unnecessary flaw -- the reader doesn't provide any pause or other noticeable break between stories. She ends one story, then immediately reads the title of the next one and continues on, without any change in cadence. It's OK if you're able to pay complete attention to the book, but if you're driving or doing something else while listening, it's easy to miss the transition from one story to the next. I listen while driving, and was four stories in before I realized it!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Character development is weak

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I wouldn't recommend these stories. Although I'm impressed by their originality and by the boldness of exhibiting intense sexual drives so explicitly and tastefully, especially with her female characters, ultimately, for me, the characters and the stories are too thin. The degree to which Machado sees sexuality as a defining characteristic of men and women makes her characters feel one dimensional (to me). I wanted to see other sides of her characters as the situations and the fairy tale dimension of her storytelling is often intriguing. Machado writes well, but her obsession with erotica becomes boring/annoying.

What could Carmen Maria Machado have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Deepen her characters/make them less one dimensional.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

If you liked the movie "Mother"...

This book is like listening to slam poetry. The plots, if there are actual plots, have been shuffled and diced until all that is left is a fragmented mosaic of prose. Maybe that's the point. It makes no sense and feels like it's trying to hard to be abstract art. If you liked the movie "Mother", this book might be for you.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Should be labeled as Erotica

Any additional comments?

I have no idea how this was a finalist for the National Book Award. It is very erotic, and I couldn't get very far as there is no plot. Returned to audible for my money back. Worst book I have started in a while. I agree with another reviewer's comment that she was attempting a poetic prose style, however it falls very flat. Cringe.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

I liked the stories a lot. The narrator had passion, but her male voices were just too derpy-sounding for me.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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Breaks needed

Needs longer/more concrete audio breaks between stories. Difficult to differentiate stories and no time to process after one has ended. Beautiful writing.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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I would rather spent the time doing my taxes

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Random and disjointed. Couldn't stand another minute after diving in for three hours.

Has Her Body and Other Parties turned you off from other books in this genre?

Absolutely.

What aspect of Amy Landon’s performance would you have changed?

No problem with the tempo or timber of her voice.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

None that i can think of.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Delightful Surprise

Bored at work, I was looking for something short and sweet to keep me entertained. Short stories sounded and good, Her Body was in my recs so hey why not. God am I glad I listened.

For startes the narrating is greatly done. Amy sounded both strong and vulnerable, seductive but sterm, soothing but demands attention. I'm so glad I went with the Audible book.

Now the book itself. I'm a long time lover or horror and sci fi but Carmen made the genre a whole new beast with this collection. The most terrifying stories are the ones that you relate to the real world, and very very few writers can do this to me. But with each of these stories I felt heavier and more horrified. It's so difficult to capture the vulnerability and utter terror you can feel as a woman in a world of violence often targeted at woman.

Her words read so smoothly and she uses very unique writing styles that bring consistent interest.

Also a little cool thing as a bisexual gal; it's very representative of queer woman all over the spectrum.

I can't wait to grab a physical copy, it will be a treasured part of my collection for years to come.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

have my 2 cents

the best story in the book was perfect and strange -- it is a piecework dream sequence replete with doppelgangers and mystery, familiar archetypal characters (benson and stabler from law and order SVU) who become more mysterious and unknowable the further the story progresses. I felt like I could have listened to it forever. like the best parts of mulholland drive. unfortunately that story happens in the middle of the book, and some of the stories before and after it do not compare. when machado is at her best, her characters are mysterious and visceral, and evoke a deeper understanding of the violence of being a woman. when she is not, the story feels overwrought and voyeuristic of trauma-- an unfocused jumble of gothic tropes and grotesque images designed to punch u so hard with feelings of revulsion u can't focus on whether or not they feel true.

I also rly disliked the narration bc my number one audiobook pet peeve is when readers have one single voice (identical pitch/inflection/pacing) for every character belonging to the opposite sex. If u want my advice that nobody asked for it would be : DONT change ur pitch if ur gonna sacrifice a sense of distinct character!!! Ok ....that's all