by Carmen Maria Machado
Her gorgeously lubricious, fantastically deranged, genre-twisting stories explore women’s bodies and the physical violence all too frequently visited upon them. Her narratives are strewn with surreal situations masquerading as humdrum lives, and many of her characters are propelled into states of half lunacy by their circumstances.
Machado’s feminal leitmotifs progress from tales of bariatric surgery and outbreaks of a fading disease to a woman’s terrifying struggle to hang on to her sanity in the wake of a brutal attack. Nothing in these clever little fables is ever quite as it seems – and there is invariably a sinister something lurking just beyond our range of vision.
Her language is pleasingly inventive throughout. In The Resident, her protagonist describes a woman’s dress as a “shapeless frock whose fractal pattern spiralled dozens of holes into her torso and created in me immediate anxiety.”
Machado’s style won’t appeal to everyone – especially those who insist upon neat endings to their short fiction. Nevertheless, I feel sure there will be plenty of readers delighted by her virtuoso storytelling.
I look forward to the publication of House in Indiana, Machado’s forthcoming memoir, due for release in 2019.