"Dream House as Reflection
A history can double as reflection. A mirror. Reading accounts similar to our own can be conduits for processing the personal. Carmen Maria Machado showed me this could be true.
I knew going into this book, as a queer abuse survivor myself, that its subject matter alone would wreck me. I didn't know just how much of it would come from how Machado interweaves structure effortlessly, allowing echoes of several pasts to overlap. Machado's prose is stellar as always, equal parts sensitive and staggering. Her Body and Other Parties stunned me, but this ripped me apart in a completely different way. Machado takes this unwritten collective history and gives it new meaning, new perspective, and a new sense of closure, for me and so many others who have had these experiences linger open-ended for so long."
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.