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.
Profile Books, paperback, August 2020, 304 pages, ISBN 9781788162258
About the Author
Carmen Maria Machado is the author of Her Body and Other Parties, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the National Book Critics Circle's John Leonard Prize. She lives in Philadelphia with her wife.
"Machado's wit and compulsive post-mortem approach configure her story into a wildly propulsive memoir, an ambulatory survey of the genre."--The New York Times Book Review
"If there are no new stories, only new ways to tell them, Carmen Maria Machado has found a way to do exactly that, ingeniously,
in Dream House -- a book that manages to break open nearly everything we think we know about abuse memoirs. . . . The result is a gorgeously kaleidoscopic feat -- not just of literature but of pure, uncut humanity."--Entertainment Weekly
"In the Dream House is the kind of book that burrows under the reader's skin while simultaneously forcing her to inhabit the body of the writer."--NPR.org