Marie-Anne Mancio trained as an artist in performative practice at Manchester Metropolitan University prior to undertaking her D. Phil Maps for Wayward Performers: feminist readings of contemporary live art practice in Britain, University of Sussex, and a subsequent M.Phil in Creative Writing at Glasgow University for which she was awarded a Distinction.
Her fiction deploys historic metaphor to comment on the present and to explore the impact of site on identities, latterly through Whorticulture, a short novel about four migrant women in antebellum America. She is represented by Lesley Thorne at Aitken Alexander Associates Ltd.
Marie-Anne's art practice is primarily text based and recent works include Pocket Bible (2011) created for New York artist duo Praxis & James Franco's Museum of Non-Visible Art (MONA). In 2009, a Diffusion writer's residency with British creative think-tank Proboscis inaugurated their bookleteer publications for which she created An A-Z of The Ting: Theatre of Mistakes (2009), a set of 16 e-books based on this 1970s performance collective’s private archive and from original research conducted by herself and curator Jason E Bowman.
Marie-Anne is also a freelance lecturer in critical theory and art history and has written for various publications including Live Art Magazine, Make, Art and Design, RealTime, The Soho Clarion, Europaconcorsi, and The Independent on Sunday.
Where to find Marie-Anne Mancio online
by Marie-Anne Mancio
As a girl waits for the return of her disappeared father, the story of four migrant women in antebellum America unravels.Peopled by whores, tricksters, gamblers, do-gooders, liars, and fools, and with allusions to the coded language of flowers, Whorticulture is about prostitution in its myriad forms. Contains a helpful discussion guide for book groups and a flower dictionary.
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Smashwords book reviews by Marie-Anne Mancio
- The Master and the Maid
on Dec. 23, 2012
I fell for this book. I haven't read much German literature from this period (seventeenth century Germany on the brink of the Thirty Years War) but 'The Master and the Maid' feels steeped in Northern European mythology and history. The writing was convincing, particularly the descriptions of the settings - I could visualise the farm and the buildings, the journeys. The majority of the time Libricz is careful to evoke a seventeenth century rather than a twenty-first century mindset so, for instance, the baby is not treated as sentimentally as it might have been by a contemporary character; the morality of adultery is not even addressed. Then there are lots of other little details that prove the author's done her research, details like the dress with the wooden buttons; the preparation of food, weapons and remedies; the histories of towns - all elegantly woven into the story. By the end, I really felt I'd learned a lot about this period.
I also like how the plot simmers for the first part. There is the ever-present threat of violence, the religious tensions that marked the age. A cat is no longer a pet; it has the potential to incriminate its owner of witchcraft. There is no romanticising of poverty or rural life. Yet Libricz gives us enough intrigue (a baby in danger; a no-good lover; machinations....) to keep you turning the pages.
This is mainly because the protagonists are engaging and three-dimensional: Herr Sebald Tucher, whom we slowly warm to; Katarina the maid who is made to return to her past home; and Pieter, the disturbed young poet with a penchant for older women. I also like how chapters occasionally alternate between points of view. The story kept me enthralled right till the end. Part Four mostly consists of an epic struggle; I wasn't sure if this was too complex but because Libricz avoids overly neat endings, it worked. I also like her unresolved elements, such as a woman in white. Apparition or reality? Reference to an old myth? And the very end - which in a way is an echo of the beginning - leaving Katarina a choice between what she is being told to do and what she wants to do.
My only reservation is I feel the novel would have benefited from one more edit just to sharpen it up in places, excise any anachronistic language (my obsession, I know, but I find words like 'scanned' distracting in a seventeenth century narrative). Also the use of similes could be improved - many of them were cliched or ordinary and not as strong as the straight descriptions or dialogue. But the whole is so engaging I still feel it deserves its four stars and I would definitely re-read this novel and more by this author.