In the Dream House
Carmen Maria Machado
‘A dark jewel reflecting something startling – familiar and strange’ Guardian
‘Ravishingly beautiful’ Observer
‘Excruciatingly honest and yet vibrantly creative’ Irish Times
‘Provocative and rich’ Economist
‘Daring, chilling, and unlike anything else you’ve ever read’ Esquire
‘An absolute must-read for 2020’ Stylist
WINNER OF THE RATHBONES FOLIO PRIZE 2021
In the Dream House is Carmen Maria Machado’s engrossing and wildly innovative account of a relationship gone bad. Tracing the full arc of a harrowing experience with a charismatic but volatile woman, this is a bold dissection of the mechanisms and cultural representations of psychological abuse.
Each chapter views the relationship through a different lens, as Machado holds events up to the light and examines them from distinct angles. She casts a critical eye over legal proceedings, fairy tales, Star Trek and Disney villains, as well as iconic works of film and fiction, infusing all with her characteristic wit, playfulness and openness to enquiry. The result is a powerful book that explodes our ideas about what a memoir can do and be.
Winner of the 2020 Lambda Literary Award in LGBTQ Non-fiction and the Publishing Triangle Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Non-Fiction
For all the horror, In the Dream House is a ravishingly beautiful book, 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 * 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 * Untamed, original and brilliantly unclassifiable ... brave, experimentally wrought * New Statesman * 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 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 * 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 In the Dream House 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. . . . In the Dream House 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 * Daring, chilling, and unlike anything else you've ever read, In the Dream House is a singular accomplishment. * Esquire * A masterpiece of horror memoir ... a new frame of understanding from one of our most thrilling and daring contemporary writers * the i Paper * Machado uses slippery changes in point of view and a knack for translating emotion into concrete sensation to slide readers into her space, where they experience the fear and confusion of abuse from the inside. She applies the astonishing force of her imagination and narrative skill to her own life, framing chapters with storytelling motifs (unreliable narrator, star-crossed lovers, choose-your-own-adventure) and playful footnotes. . . A fiercely honest, imaginatively written, and necessary memoir. * Kirkus Reviews, starred review * In the Dream House is an impressive, finely calibrated work of literature, one that throws open the door to a subject that's still rarely broached, and makes the reader's stay equally illuminating and unsettling. . . . In assuming the role of architect and archivist, Machado makes In the Dream House as much a memoir as a monument. * The A. V. Club * What might feel gimmicky in another writer's hands is revelatory in Machado's: In the Dream House becomes a complexly layered exploration of the personal and the political, and the literary, both a brave baring of a painful experience and a reckoning with our collective failure to truly deal with queer intimate partner abuse. * Lambda Literary * [Machado's] writing exhibits all of the formal precision of her fiction, and the book draws the reader deep into the varied rooms of the haunted house of the past. Highly recommended. * Booklist, starred review * In the Dream House is proof, a nod towards justice, however nebulous or impossible that idea might be, as it sounds out against gatekeepers, archival erasures, and silence, articulating the possibility of queerness against the grain of singularity. * Frieze * 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 * Machado has pulled off an amazing feat: a book that comments on its own existence and the silences it endeavors to fill; a work deeply informed by a sense of identity and community; and page after page of flawless, flaying, addictive prose. * BookPage, starred review * In the Dream House is a brilliant successor to her acclaimed short story collection. * Star Tribune * It's a testament to Carmen Maria Machado's abilities that a memoir as harrowing as In the Dream House can also be so energizing to read, so propulsive -- Kevin Brockmeier Carmen Machado's memoir about being trapped in a love relationship that turns nasty and shameful is unflinchingly honest. It's also brilliant in the originality of its story-telling, its prose which is often sheer poetry, and its persuasive insights into why the sufferer keeps coming back for more. In the Dream House affirms that Machado is one of the most talented young writers of our day. -- Lillian Faderman Machado's writing is full of repressed physical energy and the raw juice of annihilating female fury -- Louise Erdrich * The Millions * In this open examination of abuse-how it starts, how it hides, how it tears at the victim's sense of self-Machado reimagines and plays with the memoir form, bridging the gap between reader and author in a way that is original and haunting. * Library Journal * Machado's use of a vivid experimental lens to show women struggling for agency is startling * New Yorker * With Machado, everything feels razed and built anew * Star Tribune * Machado's dazzling addition to the memoir genre is spine-tinglingly monstrous -- Lucy Scholes * Daily Telegraph * One of the best LGBTQ+ books of 2020 * Independent *
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