Mary When You Follow Her
September 22, 2019 12:21 PM   Subscribe

In the autumn of Maria’s eighteenth year...

So begins a story by Carmen Maria Machado, of multiple lives, of a single moment, told in one sentence.
posted by Etrigan (10 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
Of what came before and what comes after....
posted by chavenet at 12:28 PM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Back in ye olde days of fandom being on Livejournal, there was a community where people posted one-sentence pieces -- like, somebody would set a list of some number of prompts, and you were supposed to write one sentence for each prompt. People would sometimes write these super-convoluted, super-long sentences because they trying to jam an entire paragraph or narrative's worth of stuff into a single sentence.

This reminds me of those, but in the very, very best way. Machado really turns the formal limitation to her purposes, using it to build a suspense and rhythm and emotional tension and release. Thank you for sharing this.
posted by joyceanmachine at 12:52 PM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

This is really good!
posted by notsnot at 1:46 PM on September 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

the same autumn she finally figured out how to give herself an orgasm, right after the summer when she broke up with her boyfriend of two years, Ira, who had for their entire relationship been attempting to make her come with the grim resolve of a pioneer woman churning butter and failing 100 percent of the time

OMFG what a wonderful, thrilling, complete tale. Thanks for posting, Etrigan! I rarely read nourishing fiction of any length these days. I don't even know where to go to find it, and had not heard of her before. What a gift to my weekend.
posted by Bella Donna at 2:44 PM on September 22, 2019

...and talked about the missing girls with Dolores and Perdita...

The name Dolores means sadness and Perdita means little lost one.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:12 PM on September 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

Machado previously on the Blue, where I made a silly goose of myself in comments.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 5:03 PM on September 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

That was really good and terrifying and ordinary and wow, I liked it.
posted by seasparrow at 5:24 PM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oh, man. Thanks.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:14 AM on September 23, 2019

This is astoundingly good. I really enjoyed how it built and wrapped around the character until you have that final picture of her, pushed to action--pushed from home--by the misogyny and racism of society and individuals. It is such a realistic swirl of emotion and adrenaline and recent history while making a huge decision. And that last bit where Maria is imaging the present/future of the other girls is heartbreaking.
posted by carrioncomfort at 9:06 AM on September 23, 2019

When it was obvious to me that I was on the last part I had to actually hold something up against the lower part of the screen to stop my eyes skipping ahead to the last line. Because I really had to know, but I also knew how important it was to get there in the way the author intended. That's powerful writing.
posted by YoungStencil at 11:30 AM on September 23, 2019 [4 favorites]

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