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Carmen Maria Machado with Esmé Weijun Wang
January 30, 2020 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm PSTFree
in conversation and celebrating the release of
Carmen Maria Machado’s
In The Dream House
published by Graywolf Press
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.
Carmen Maria Machado is the author of Her Body and Other Parties, a finalist for the National Book Award. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, she is the writer in residence at the University of Pennsylvania and lives in Philadelphia with her wife. Visit: https://carmenmariamachado.com/
Esmé Weijun Wang is the author of The Collected Schizophrenias and The Border of Paradise. She received the Whiting Award in 2018 and was named one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists of 2017. She holds an MFA from the University of Michigan and lives in San Francisco. Visit: https://esmewang.com/