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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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Almost as great as expected.

What made the experience of listening to Her Body and Other Parties the most enjoyable?

The stand-out story of this collection is easily "The Husband Stitch," and makes this book worth reading all on its own. Amy Landon's narration of every story is perfectly matched to its tone, I think.

Have you listened to any of Amy Landon’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I'm not sure if this is her fault, but the lack of a definitive pause between stories was incredibly off-putting.

Any additional comments?

"Especially Heinous" seriously takes away from the overall effect of the book. If it were about 1/5th shorter it would have been fine. As it stands, it's a real slog and drags the rest of the book down with it.