Carmen Maria Machado isn’t teaching this year. In the spring of 2019 she won a Guggenheim Fellowship, so she’s taking the year to work on a new project. That didn’t stop her from teaching me, as we discussed In the Dream House, her new memoir focused on the dynamics of a relationship she was in while pursuing a master’s degree from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. The book is groundbreaking—we would expect nothing less from the author of the outstanding 2017 short story collection Her Body and Other Parties—in its exploration of romance that gradually descends from cautious bliss into gaslighting and abusive control. Despite the book’s heavy material, Machado is full of laughter on the phone and patiently professorial as she schooled me on the Gothic genres.