“This experimental memoir” tells the story of a woman “whose experiences as an American immigrant . . . encompass issues of identity and belonging” (Chicago Tribune).
This is the tale of Melena, five times married, mother of three, burlesque dancer, and “the toughest, hardest-assed woman to ever eat wood and bite nails.” Located in history and memory, her life cracks open questions of identity at the heart of an American immigrant woman’s experience and becomes an argument that no existence is ever truly marginal.
“Melena strikes a playful and sharp figure in her leopard print costume. Sikelianos never lets go of the fantasy of the image, but she also explores her grandmother’s underlying grit. Fans of her previous work will be sure to enjoy Sikelianos’s atypical memoir.” —Publishers Weekly
“A wonderfully strange and inventive book by a professor and poet who combines various forms into an unclassifiable whole . . . The writing pulsates with such life force, reckless and a little giddy, as the author surveys her family’s female history, the immigration of Greeks to America . . . This is writing and reading as adventure, where every page can bring a different sort of revelation.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Sikelianos’ portrait includes poems, unusual typography, & photographs that would not look out of place in a W.G. Sebald novel.” —Booklist