📖: Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties (2017)
🍸: the green ribbon
Why this book?
Today is the last day of Latinx Heritage Month, and since it’s also spooky season 👻, I’m featuring Carmen Maria Machado’s debut collection of eight short stories that portray female sexuality, desire, power, and passion through a mix of both real and surreal horrors.
From an isolated artist residency colony in the woods to a remote island during a global pandemic (TOO real 😰), the varied settings for these stories alone make them creepy — not to mention the appearances of ghosts, a hook-handed killer, and faded women who reside in the seams of prom dresses! What could make these tales even scarier? So much of this collection seems to be about what can haunt us — whether it’s shame, guilt, self-hate, or trauma — and how much of these experiences are tied to the control, stigmatization, and erasure of women’s bodies in contemporary culture.
What I liked most about this book is Machado’s bold experimentation with different forms of storytelling. She weaves together pop culture horror tropes, folk tales, Gothic literary styles, and satire with unconventional narrative structures to create dark and erotic stories, sometimes with a cheeky edge. For example, one story is told completely through a series of episode synopses from a LAW & ORDER: SVU-like show, and in another, she adds stage directions, instructing readers to use specific voices for each character’s dialogue. In another instance, she even asks you, the reader, to “give a paring knife to the listeners and ask them to cut the tender flap of skin between your index finger and thumb” to recreate the sound and feeling of an obstetric procedure mentioned in the story. Yikes, that gave me chills!
Why this drink?
There was something intriguing and surprising about each story, so I gobbled up the entire collection like Halloween treats 🎃 This pairing is a reference to the opening story “The Husband Stitch” — a clever retelling of “The Green Ribbon,” which comes from a scary old French tale that was later popularized by Washington Irving in 1824 and adapted for children by Alvin Schwartz in 1984. 😱 If you haven’t heard “The Green Ribbon” yet, I’d recommend reading Machado’s version first!
the green ribbon
1.5 oz mezcal
1 oz lime juice
0.5 oz triple sec
0.25 oz demerara sugar syrup
0.25 tsp matcha
black lava salt and lime wheel
- combine all other ingredients in a shaker, and shake with ice
- rim glass with black salt
- serve with ice, if desired
- garnish with lime wheel
Another round, please! 🥂
You might also like:
Roxane Gay’s Difficult Women (2017)
Finished the book? What did you think about it? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!