In the Dream House

Graywolf. Nov. 2019. 272p. ISBN 9781644450031. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781644451021. memoir
Experimenting with narrative form, Machado (Her Body and Other Parties) offers an emotional tour of the “Dream House,” examining the history of an abusive queer relationship from multiple perspectives. In fragmented vignettes and short essays, Machado considers the “Dream House” as romance novel, noir, déjà vu, cautionary tale, and more (even delving into “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories) to engage with the literature on queer domestic abuse, positioning her account within the framework of lesbian experience. Machado’s frequent use of second-person narration is especially harrowing, placing readers inside the Dream House as she recounts the events surrounding her relationship. In this open examination of abuse—how it starts, how it hides, how it tears at the victim’s sense of self—Machado reimagines and plays with the memoir form, bridging the gap between reader and author in a way that is original and haunting.
VERDICT A thought-provoking account for anyone interested in the experience of abuse survivors and lesbian narratives; trigger warning for descriptions of physical and emotional abuse.

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