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.
A tender, incandescent memoir like no other. There's no doubt that Machado is one of the brightest literary talents around. -- Johanna Thomas-Corr ― Observer
Absolutely remarkable ... What makes this book truly exceptional is how Machado creates an archive where, shamefully, there is none -- Roxane Gay
This book is devastating. Machado is a sublime, phenomenal, breathtakingly good writer and a new work by her is a momentous occasion. -- Daisy Johnson
Machado's dazzling memoir of violence in a queer relationship flips acrobatically between genres - myth, sci-fi thriller, soap opera, comedy of errors - to document her abuse with steely precision. ― Daily Telegraph
Carmen Maria Machado lets loose the full force of her gothic imagination to recount her real-life entanglement in an addictive but psychologically abusive same-sex relationship, and in language so sensual the violence comes as a shock ... sublime -- Marina Benjamin ― New Statesman
This is challenging and thrilling. There is never one reading. Memoir here is resurrection, rebirth and archive. In the Dream House is a dark jewel reflecting something startling - familiar and strange. - ― Guardian
Merge the house and the woman-watch the woman experience her own body as a haunted house, a place of sudden, inexplicable terrors-and you are reading the blazingly talented Carmen Maria Machado. -- Parul Sehgal ― The New York Times
Machado's genre-crushing memoir is a meditation on the eclipse of knowledge and intuition by the narcotic light of a destructive bond that feels like love. -- Melissa Broder
Innovative and haunting, compelling and jarring, Machado has created what is essentially a new form of memoir ... excruciatingly honest and yet vibrantly creative. ― The Irish Times
Provocative and rich ... the cycle of abuse is a kind of poisonous enchantment in which victims can be enthralled. Ms Machado's memoir casts a powerful counter-spell ― Economist
Astonishing ... Machado writes with such precision and poetry it's hard not to be utterly blown away as she pinpoints those moments that can cause the destruction of all relationships. An absolute must-read for 2020. ― Stylist
Breathtakingly inventive. . . . Machado's writing, with its heat and precise command of tone, has always had a sentient quality. But what makes <i>In the Dream House </i>a particularly self-aware structure-which is to say, a true haunted house-is the intimation that it is critiquing itself in real time. .Here and in her short stories, Machado subjects the contemporary world to the logic of dreaming. -- Katy Waldman ― New Yorker
Carmen Maria Machado has re-imagined the memoir genre, creating a work of art both breathtakingly inventive and urgently true. In the Dream House is crucial queer testimony. I've never read a book like it. -- Alex Marzano-Lesnevich
The way In the Dream House seamlessly weaves the facts of [Machado's] life with fictions-the ghosts that still haunt her, the fact that even time travel could not undo what's been done-is a masterstroke. Machado's that writer who can convincingly code-switch between sci-fi nerdery and lyrical realism. She's equally at home in both worlds. ― Wired
Piercing. . . . <i>In the Dream House </i> makes for uneasy but powerful reading. ― USA Today
A raw, innovative memoir. ― BBC Culture
Realistic, poetic, and sometimes grimly funny ... A hard-hitting and layered book that reminds us we need to continue addressing abuse with queer women's communities ― Diva
A groundbreaking memoir in terms of both form and content. . . . Get ready for Machado to take you on several breakneck cross-country trips of the soul. ― The Observer
An unflinching, engrossing memoir. ― POPSUGAR
A stunning book, both deeply felt and elegantly written. ― Boston Globe
Forget everything you think you know about memoir when reading Carmen Maria Machado's brilliant, twisting, provocative entry in the genre. ― NYLON
A revolutionary memoir about domestic abuse by the prizewinning author of Her Body and Other Parties
About the Author
Carmen Maria Machado</b> 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 is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and is the writer-in-residence at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where she lives with her wife.