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You Animal Machine (The Golden Greek)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  60 ratings  ·  11 reviews
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.
Paperback, 126 pages
Published June 10th 2014 by Coffee House Press (first published May 19th 2014)
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3.73  · 
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 ·  60 ratings  ·  11 reviews

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Claudia Cortese
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fuses poetry, historical research, family lore, and speculation to create a book that reads more like a constellation of specters and images, imaginary encounters and vague memories than a linear memoir. I love this book
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a book by my second cousin, about my grand-aunt (often called great aunt): my grandmother's sister. My grandmother was adopted young and only learned she was adopted at 18. Thanks to 23andme, I learned of my grandmother's birth family (sadly, she never unraveled the mystery while she was alive). So I can now say I've met my delightful second cousin and first-cousin-once-removed, and am very grateful to be related to them both. <3

A beautiful, lyrical book that should be savored and occ
Hannah Young
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A wondrous chronicle of a life, a history, a desert. I'm really sick right now and can't think of anything more articulate to say other than dang, them death poetics though. Them trauma poetics though.
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
1.5. I would have stopped if I could have.
Oct 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
Lo terminé porque era tarea.
May 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Fun! Exciting! Cool! Inspiring! Sometimes the bravado of "wow experimentalism" eclipsed a little of there being there there for me, but I'm happy this book exists and definitely enjoyed it.
Erin Grady
Aug 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It's hard not to be pulled in and entranced by the poetry of this tale. This is not a linear telling, but a mix of memories, research, poetry and maybes. Not your average grandmother, but a woman who slips between the human world and the one of the Jaguar. She is both and neither, and the hunt to find her before she slips away into the desert is a tale that sucks you in.
Sep 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, non-fiction
B Another memoir by Sikelianos tracing her family roots. Really beautiful (though I'll admit, at times I got confused and lost track…then again, I read it entirely on the subway, much of it to & fro a half marathon, not necessarily the best place to read!). A mixture of forms and styles. Good stuff. Reads like a novel/poetry, not a boring nonfiction narrative.
Sep 22, 2015 rated it liked it
A grandma unlike any other, a life on the stage, a life with many husbands, a life on the road. Sikelianos revisits (at times if feels she just repeats) her formula in The Book of Jon to create this memoir, but hey, I guess hybrid writing would be the only suitable way to talk about Melena, The Golden Greek.
Roger Green
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful blend of fairy tale, memoir, past life, genealogy, and cultural histories. Sikelianos conjures and constellates a bigger windstorm of particulars.
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Eleni Sikelianos is the author of six books of poetry, most recently The Loving Detail of the Living and the Dead, as well as a hybrid memoir, The Book of Jon. Sikelianos directs the creative writing program at the University of Denver.