Miranda and her twin brother, Eliot, live in an old house on the cliffs near Dover, which their father runs as a bed and breakfast. People come and go through the house, though some never leave at all. Miranda returns from an extended hospital stay, weak from her unusual diet of chalk, and chalk alone. Her father hopes to entice her with his culinary concoctions, but Mira’s pica disorder has deeper roots than can be imagined, and when she begins to hear the voices that belong to the house her father risks losing her completely.
Driving home on Halloween night, a young woman stumbles out onto the road in front of Lauren’s father’s truck. Niall bundles her into the cab, taking her home and caring for her all night. In the morning, she is gone. When Lauren asks what happened to the woman from the road, Niall irritably tells her he doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
The sea has encroached far into the United States, leaving pockets of people fighting for survival along the newly defined coastline. Mir lives with her parents and her baby brother, but something’s not quite right with her new sibling. Meanwhile, sightings of strange sea creatures on land have the coastal folk worried, almost driving a local school teacher to suicide. Jersey, Mir’s best friend urges her to join him in seeking a better life inland, but there’s no guarantee that things get better away from the ever-invading ocean.
A short story that has become a staple of feminist literature, The Yellow Wallpaper consists of journal entries by a young woman who slowly descends into madness. The narrator is taken to a colonial mansion by her physician husband in an attempt to cure her ‘nervous depression’ through rest and relaxation. Sternly advised not to write or take up any pastime, the narrator takes to examining the garish yellow wallpaper in the room she’s staying in, soon becoming convinced that there is a woman trapped behind the florid patterns.
In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.