Carmen Maria Machado spins a slightly surreal, quietly affecting tale of a woman’s bariatric surgery, exploring the connections between food, family, femininity, and body image.
Excerpt from Eight Bites, by Carmen Maria Machado
In Eight Bites, Carmen Maria Machado goes inside the mind of a woman who undergoes bariatric weight loss surgery. It's often said that food is family, and the relationship of Machado's narrator to food and her own body is refracted through her relationships with the women of her family: an iron-willed mother, gossipy sisters, and a concerned daughter. Weaving realistic storytelling with a surrealist twist, Machado explores the complicated feelings around a simple clinical procedure: desire, shame, love, envy, and a sense of having "lost" something more than merely weight.
If you’re Latinx, you’ve probably had a relative challenge your weight: ¿Por qué estás tan gorda/gordo? Estás engordando. “Eight Bites” hits home, rehashing the pressures too many Latinxs reproduce onto each other, especially family. Weight expectations can haunt you, forcing you to militarize your desire to lose, to sculpt, to gym, to achieve “normal.” From this comes the mentality expressed by our narrator: “I could not make eight bites work for my body and so I would make my body work for eight bites.”
Kelly, C. (2020). Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado (review).
Chiricú, 4(2), 202–204.
Carmen Maria Machado (born 1986) is an American short story author, essayist, and critic frequently published in The New Yorker, Granta, Lightspeed, and other publications. She has been a finalist for the National Book Award and the Nebula Award for Best Novelette. Her stories have been reprinted in Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy, Best Horror of the Year, The New Voices of Fantasy, and Best Women's Erotica. Her story collection Her Body and Other Parties was published in 2017. Her memoir In the Dream House was published in 2019. More... (Wikipedia)
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