Monday, February 26, 2018
Her Body and Other Parties
Their are eight stories within, beginning with "The Husband Stitch," which is an odd, wonderful story about a woman who is very horny and gets married (to a man), but has a mysterious ribbon around her neck. We are warned, "Brides never fare well in stories. Stories can sense happiness and snuff it out like a candle." The story also gives instructions to the reader that are fairly elaborate. You don't actually follow the instructions, but you might in your head.
"Inventory" is a woman's inventory of her life, but set against a civilization-ending plague of some sort. "Real Women Have Bodies" is set during a mysterious plague that makes women fade until they are incorporeal. "Mothers" has a young woman dropping off her baby with her ex-lover for her to raise.
It seems all writers have a story about staying at a writer's colony, and Machado does with "The Resident," but given Machado's interesting style this one is different from all others I've read.
The one story I had trouble with is "Especially Heinous," which is a parody of Law and Order: SVU. Machado writes episode summaries for several seasons worth of the show. While some of them are funny: "Benson gets the flu. She vomits up: spinach, paint shavings, half a golf pencil, and a single bell the size of her pinky nail," the thing drags on way too long, well past the point someone could say, "I get it."
But Machado is a terrific stylist, with some great turns of phrase with exquisite details: "He got angry and left, slamming the screen door so hard my spice rack jumped from its nail and crashed to the
floor. My dog lapped up the nutmeg, and I had to force-feed him salt to make him throw up." Or: "Her hair grayed at the temples and the way she laughed tripped pleasure down the stairs of my heart."
I will be interested to see what Machado does next. Perhaps she is working on a novel, and I would love to read it.