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In the Dream House
“A masterful look at the complexity of the queer experience. Machado employs a kaleidoscope approach to examine her relationship with an old partner, a woman who verbally, physically and emotionally assaulted her, her own personal experiences that led her to stay “in the dream house” of abuse, and society’s role in the oppression and devaluation of women, especially queer women and women of color. Through a mix of long and super short chapters, examples of old folk tales and pop culture, and more realistic narrative, Machado digs deep into the confusing, distorted and contradictory aspects of a toxic relationship, in which the victim begins to doubt her own reactions and motives. It’s a #fivestarreview for us, and #requiredreading! And the @librofm #audiobook features Machado reading! Amazing amazing amazing. ”Jhoanna,
Bel Canto Books
“This is a spellbinding memoir that will stand the test of time. Carmen Maria Machado has crafted a memoir that turns the form on its head, that creates a stunning, chilling and winding narrative that stays true to the nature of human beings: complex and nuanced. The LGBTQ archive of intimate-partner violence needed this and helped pave a way for others to explore the violence in their queer relationships.”Charlie,
Green Apple Books
“Welcome to the Dream House in this daring new kind of memoir that defies boundaries and boldly discards the conventions of genre. Inside, Carmen Maria Machado bares her soul in all of its pain and beauty, offering an intimate and profoundly vulnerable look at her own life, love, and sexuality. Machado has a gift for exposing the raw nerves and small miracles lurking beneath the surface of our daily lives. Her words move with a strange kind of urgency, surreal and yet true, like late-night phone calls when the rest of the world is asleep. I didn’t feel like I was reading a book so much as observing a person’s innermost thoughts. In the Dream House is a unique and extraordinary book.”Jason Foose,
“Brilliant and brave, Carmen Maria Machado's memoir does not shy away from pain, but examines it with a scientist's precision and a poet's imagination. Machado examines how relationships can become toxic from personal understanding. This book reads like a collection of cohesive essays where each chapter is a new lens. This book will change your understanding of memoir. Read by the author, which is especially special and important for this book.”Lafe,
“Raw. Powerful. Emotive. In the Dream House demands your attention as Machado digs deep into the darkness and comes out shining. In decisive, yet incredibly lyrical prose, she pulls apart the complexities of abuse in queer relationships, chronicling the ups and downs and outs of her own experience, unfortunately shared by so many others. Broken into easily digestible vignettes, In the Dream House screams no for those who aren't seen, aren't believed, and claws at the silence of generations. A beautiful, haunting, undeniably important piece of literature that refuses to be silenced.”Britt,
Second Star to the Right
“In the Dream House is the intersection of so many things. It's the story of a poisonous relationship between two women. It creates an archive of abusive queer relationships that has been absent in the culture's conscious for far too long. It's a study of style and form. It's tactile. It's phantasmagoria. It's a completely unique reading experience. It accesses a subterranean level of unease that it belongs on the shelf next to Poe or Lovecraft. Machado has accomplished something extraordinary here, something that should be studied meticulously and relished in as it horrifies you to your very core.”Conner,
“In the most inventive memoir I've read, Machado uses narrative tropes in a series of fragments and vignettes to break down the ways in which she, herself, was breaking down in an abusive same-sex relationship. A book about 'archival silence,' about inventing a language to tell a story.”Bryn,
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.