Amanda Montei holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts, and is currently a PhD student at SUNY at Buffalo, where she is a Presidential Fellow. She has taught, performed or presented work in Los Angeles, New York, Uganda, Rwanda and Germany. She is currently the co-editor of Bon Aire Projects, a press that publishes collaborative poetry and connects otherwise divergent aesthetic communities. She also edits the literary journal P-QUEUE. Her poetry and fiction has appeared in P-QUEUE, Gigantic, Pinwheel, Joyland, Explosion Proof Magazine, Delirious Hem, PANK, Night Train and others. Her critical writing has appeared in American Book Review, Performing Ethos, Harriet: The Blog, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, and Ms. Magazine.Her short story “We Are All Animals” was a nominee for the 2010 Million Writers’ Award. Her poetry manuscript The Failure Age was a semi-finalist for the 11th annual Slope Editions Book Prize, and was published as a chapbook by Bloof Books in 2014. She is the co-author, with Jon Rutzmoser, of Dinner Poems. She is also a contributor to the Ms. Magazine blog.
Amanda Montei Books
Coming Fall 2014
a biography + art
by Amanda Montei
ABOUT THE BOOK
As a young girl, the narrator of Two Memoirs finds herself imitating her mother. She fastens to her mother’s stories about childhood and the family’s blue blood lineage. When her parents divorce, and the family is forced to leave behind their elite Los Angeles life, the narrator and her mother grow closer, as they endure financial struggles, a childhood acting career, and feuds over family inheritances. The narrator becomes increasingly aware of her mother’s relationships with men, money, and Hollywood, and begins to see her mother—the daughter of an alcoholic Hollywood producer, a runaway, a twin sister, and an Emmy-winning assistant to Barbara Streisand— and her stories in a new light. Her mother, however, makes repeated incursions on the text, defending her “ugly” behavior, challenging the veracity of the story, even censoring the text.
What emerges is narrative about growing up in a family for whom story-telling, Hollywood, houses, and eugenics-obsessed ancestors like Aaron Burr and Jonathan Edwards provide the only means of escape from a less than perfect past, and an unusually troubled present. This is a story of a girl, and a mother, learning about motherhood, sexuality, and the instability of memory.
Two Memoirs is a biography of a mother, an autobiography of a daughter, a story about being a girl in Los Angeles—but also a conversation, an argument, an elegy, a letter, a manuscript at an impasse, and a search for an archive of memory that can never be found.