Machado’s experimental non-fiction of “In the Dream House” tells a hard tale of queer domestic violence with woman seething with an oppressive rage more frightening than any science fiction.
West Philadelphia author (and now, memoirist) Carmen Maria Machado has always been a thing for me. How could I not fall into a state of aesthetic admiration over someone who could craft a genuinely odd work such as the 2013 novella “Especially Heinous: 272 Views of Law & Order SVU,” and its kaleidoscopically comported, bite-sized “synopses” for the first 12 seasons of NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit?”
While the Allentown-born, LGBTQ-identifying Machado made her bones scribing surreal stories for Granta and New Yorker magazines, most readers know her for the 2017 collection “Her Body and Other Parties,” a finalist for the National Book Award. Often called a master of science fiction, erotica, and fantasy, I find her work startling, horror-scaped, weird, but frank – as bone cutting as it is chilling. And deeply human.
It is, however, Machado’s bold and brand new memoir “In the Dream House,” that brings her home this week, to the Parkway Central Library (1901 Vine) on November 7, at 7:30pm (Actually, she is a writer in residence at the University of Pennsylvania, so she probably is just Uber-ing to the Library).
More freakishly fictitious and emotionally gut-wrenching than most traditional sci-fi, the cranked-up experimental non-fiction of “In the Dream House” tells a hard tale of queer domestic violence and Machado’s Intense relationship with a woman seething with an oppressive rage more frightening than any science fiction. With chapters such as “Dream House as Noir,” and “Dream House as Murder Mystery,” you get the idea that Machado is having a delicious way with genre-jumping. And yet, with every page, you feel a fear and torture – you sweat – that only the cinema of David Cronenberg could fashion Until now.