Now available in paperback, Carmen Maria Machado’s In the Dream House is a searing account of a harrowing relationship with a charismatic but volatile woman. Each chapter in this wildly inventive memoir is driven by its own narrative trope—the haunted house, erotica, the bildungsroman—through which Machado holds her story up to the light, examining it from different angles. She considers 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.