Her Body and Other Parties

Black and red cover with a green ribbon on the front

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Machado is one of the best books I've read in the last few years.

You'll find Machado's book in our Science Fiction section, though her books have elements of classical fiction, magical realism, science fiction, and horror. Critics have had difficulty categorizing this book, which encompasses so many themes and genres. I would encourage you to look beyond this book's genre if you are not usually a science fiction reader.

The first story in the collection, "The Husband Stitch," is a retelling of a folk tale that many of us remember from our youth, the story of the girl with the green ribbon around her neck. 

"The Husband Stitch" follows a young woman throughout her life and marriage. The world that this character navigates is very much like our own, except for that women here have a ribbon tied to a part of their body. We are not sure what this ribbon symbolizes but we know that it is a uniquely female trait, and it seems to be a source of fear for women. At one point in the story the narrator has coffee with a friend. She says, "We do not discuss the specific fears of raising a girl child. Truthfully, I am afraid even to ask." The narrator has a male child and she is so relieved that she begins to weep. The narrator fiercely guards her ribbon from her son and her husband. The ribbon causes conflict in her marriage.   

Machado's Her Body and Other Parties, is a powerful book of short stories. Each story is well written, finely crafted, mysterious, suspenseful and eerie. These stories have feminist themes, the author explores the implications of being a woman in this world, and the world that Machado has created. 

 

 

 

Written by Nicole Holtzman