Carmen Maria Machado Archive

Reading the Uncanny

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In the work of Carmen Maria Machado and Sequoia Nagamatsu, the uncanny elements that might be unsettling for readers are stand-ins for very familiar things: the complexities of interpersonal relationships and the hardships that some have while moving through the world in the bodies they were born with.

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

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In her new memoir, Machado tells a story of abuse that often goes unrecognized, exploring what happens when we don’t have ready narrative models for our experiences.

Reading Carmen Maria Machado’s Update on Carmilla

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In this new edition, Machado has taken on the duty of an antique frame restorer. The resulting work is a hybrid form, a beautiful and terrible monster that shifts whenever you look at it, back and forth between history and fantasy, repression and liberation, horror and desire.

Fiction of the Shopping Mall

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We already know that consumer goods are not the stuff of human happiness. And yet, stories by Carmen Maria Machado, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, and Aimee Bender underline this reality while also rendering it more complex, interrogating the ways in which we can and cannot resist capitalism and its cruelties.

List-Making at the End of the World

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In apocalyptic stories, lists seem to provide characters and writers with a sense of control.

A Defense of Writerly Obsessions

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Every writer has obsessions. These range from overarching themes, like the exploration of Jewish identity that characterizes many a Philip Roth novel, to extremely, sometimes bizarrely, specific motifs. Where some would criticize this repetition as a dearth of original ideas, such lifelong attempts to work through fixations can be



The Readers: Carmen Maria Machado and Following Your Idols

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Carmen Maria Machado’s critical work reflects wide-ranging interests, and some of her most exciting writing takes place in reviews of fiction that resembles her own—literature that is speculative, scary, and queer.

Origin Stories: Fiction by Prompt

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How do great authors begin their fiction? With a line or a character, a memory or a mission? This year, as Ploughshares’s unofficial origin-story archivist, I’ll investigate. Because I’m a teacher, I started by looking for stories that grew out of writing assignments. Here’s what I found. 1. Amy