In the Dream House: A Memoir
A tender, brutal yet beautiful memoir that chronicles Machado’s experience of an abusive relationship with another woman. Its form cleverly centres various constructed genres/tropes/literary or cinematic modes as versions of their relationship, either representing or in stark contrast with reality as her partner’s behaviour becomes more and more cruel. As well as her own story, Machado examines what she calls the ‘archival silence’ around abuse in same sex relationships, the barriers to female-reported violence and tropes of queer representation in wider culture. Amazingly the abusive relationship has a real outcome that is one of the most ‘fable’ like parts of this memoir. Machado’s exquisite grasp of form and deep psychological insight makes this one of the most exciting books you’ll read in 2020.
‘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 narrative 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.
‘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’ Stylist
WINNER OF THE RATHBONES FOLIO PRIZE 2021
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