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In the Dream House

A Memoir
Carmen Maria Machado
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.

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A revolutionary memoir about domestic abuse by the award-winning author of Her Body and Other Parties

About the Author

Carmen Maria Machado
Credit: Art Streiber / AUGUST

Carmen Maria Machado is the author of Her Body and Other Parties, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize. She lives in Philadelphia with her wife.

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Upcoming Events

Carmen Maria Machado appearing as pary of the Brooklyn Book Festival

Brooklyn Book Festival in Brooklyn, NYview map
Books are Magic presents "Love & Desire" a conversation with Lisa Taddeo, and Casey McQuiston. Moderated by Ashley C. Ford. Location: Cadman Plaza East.  

Carmen Maria Machado appearing as part of the Franklin Park Reading Series

Franklin Park Bar and Beer Garden in Brooklyn, NYview map
Reading with Grace Paley, Sasha Fletcher, Alexandra Tanner, and Anika Lani. This event is free and open to the public. 


  • “Machado rejects standard memoir conventions in favor of short discursive chapters. . . . The result is a thoroughly engrossing, sometimes enraging must-read.”—BuzzFeed
  • “In the Dream House is both innovative in its approach and nerve-striking in its subject matter.”—Pacific Standard
  • “Machado is able to captivate the reader while telling a brutally honest narrative of abuse.”—
  • “Carmen Maria Machado's rise in the literary world has been nothing short of meteoric.”—The Week
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