by Marie-Anne Mancio

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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.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940033168255
Publisher: Marie-Anne Mancio
Publication date: 04/13/2012
Sold by: Smashwords
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 468 KB

About the Author

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.

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Whorticulture 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
lizasarusrex More than 1 year ago
Four women who have never met, or even know of each others existence, but yet they are all connected through one man. It takes place during antebellum period, which was a much different time period than today's time, so the subject matter wasn't as controversial as I once thought before opening the book.  You can tell that a lot of research and studying went into the making of this book which was full of detail and realistic scenarios that might have happened during this time period.  At first I was concerned that this book was going to be about nothing but whores, but it turned out to be so much more. Its about survival as a woman, and doing what they felt they had to, in order to get through life and make their life work.  The book categorizes men and other people into one large group, which I found a bit untrue and a bit jaded like. They go over how all men are bad people, and to me that is just over categorizing. Overall I found the book to be accurate to the time period, entertaining, and dramatic to the point of intrigue, but not to the point of being over the top. I'd rate this book at 5/5. 
lrjohnson13 More than 1 year ago
Note: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. These four nineteenth century American short stories are compelling. The stories are linked by each woman’s will to survive and their will to do whatever they have to. There is a great deal of research that had gone into creating these stories and the women’s lives. The stories are informative and vivid. The only problem I had with these stories is that they needed a long introduction into the women’s back-stories that slows the pace down.
Mirella More than 1 year ago
Whorticulture is an anthology of four historical fiction stories about women who, for one reason or another, were forced to sell themselves physically or spiritually to men in order to overcome adversity in their lives. Each chapter is headed by a reference to a particular flower which provides a link to the individual and different stories. The women in the stories were fascinating, victims of their own particular era (albeit all set in the mid 1800’s in different locales). The novel is very well written and researched with plenty of details to really bring each setting to vivid life These four poignant stories are highly entertaining, giving readers a fascinating insight into the plight of women during this period in history.
Ali-Isaac More than 1 year ago
This book comprises four short stories concerning young women in C19th America, linked by their dependence on the men in their lives. Do not let the title mislead you; they are not all whores, yet in different ways they are all forced to sell themselves to some degree, in order to survive. The short story is notoriously difficult to write. It cannot, by its very nature, tell the character’s whole life story. To my disappointment, however, this is the trap I feel this author has fallen into. Each story relies on long sections of back story, in which the main character relates to us, or her companion, her history, in order to explain and validate the motivation behind current events. This information comes to us second hand, we are told rather than shown, and unfortunately this slows down the pace tremendously. Taking the final story, Emily’s Bouquet, as an example, how more immediate and intriguing the story would have been if the progress of her husband’s ‘illness’ was punctuated with several brief flashbacks detailing his worst atrocities, rather than the long catalogue we are given between the onset of the illness, and his demise. Despite that, the ending is deliciously bittersweet; was she accused of poisoning him, and hanged as a murderer, or did she get away with it and enjoy a widow’s inherited wealth? We are not told. I love an ending which offers various alternative outcomes, and the author does this admirably well, allowing the reader to have some active input to the story, rather than spelling it out in black and white for us. The third story, Seraphine’s Bouquet, was arguably my favourite. Here was a lively, feisty character, the only one out of all four that I actually warmed to. Again, a delightfully unexpected ending, although I found the accent the story was written in far too distracting. Mark Twain, of course, did it to great effect in Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, but it’s something you either love, or you hate. For me it felt too unnatural; I would have preferred just the occasional subtle reminder. In the second story, Abigail’s Bouquet, we have a young businesswoman struggling to run her hat shop during the crazy years of the gold rush. Despite all the trappings of outward success and independence, she falls into an illicit affair with a married man. When he inevitably absconds, she finds herself with an unwanted pregnancy, and forced into marriage with a man she doesn’t love. The story closes on the rising tide of her rage, and we are left pondering her future. It’s a strange and effective point at which to end. The first story, Katherine’s Bouquet, opens the book and sets the standard. It is almost a dark version of Little Women and House on the Prairie combined; why would some barely known Uncle adopt his young niece, and remove her from her family to a new life in his house in the city? Can his motives be truly altruistic? Much has been made of the language of flowers used in this book, which certainly contributes to its unique feel. The glossary at the end takes this a step further, but I would rather have seen it included within the text of the stories themselves. It is obvious a great deal of research has gone into writing these stories. They were enlightening, and informative. I greatly enjoyed this window into another era, how the author drew me into the reality of these women’s lives with the detailed description of their social circumstances and the practicalities of daily living. But the book’s greatest strength undoubtedly lies in the quality and style of the author’s writing. What exquisite, vivid language, and beautiful imagery, something I could only aspire to! The writing is lean, bare yet undeniably evocative, almost poetic in places. My favourite examples come from the first story, “she…has worn her dissatisfaction ever since like a favourite piece of clothing she should have grown out of.” Yes, I can really see that in her face, her posture, hear it in her voice; “wet calico, hair of wind and water, I tear through wild grasses” is a masterful piece of description; and finally, “In the ticket hall, the three of us are pressed tight as wildflowers between book covers.” Just a small example of this writer’s great skill; there are many more I could mention, but you will have to read the book and find them for yourselves. The tales these stories tell are not new. It is hard to classify them; they are neither romance, nor historical account, nor feminist nor titillation, but somehow a combination of all. The fact that they are written in first person present tense will also be off-putting for some. The book redeems itself, however, with its more than stunning prose, and I look forward to reading more by this author.
TheBookTimeGal More than 1 year ago
This book was a quick read and I really liked how the different stories were connected by some of the characters. Each of the women endured hardships, despite some having better social situations than others. Yet, they proved to be strong and were able to change their circumstances through whatever means necessary in order to survive.
KSFlores More than 1 year ago
I took a bit of a risk requesting this book - it was part of the Early Reviewer's program - but the description intrigued me as it did not really seem to be about whores. It does push and question the fine line between being a respectable women (or not) in antebellum USA. Specifically, during that time but also in a more general sense, this book explores different arrangements women have made with men to survive, find protection, or break away. Some of these involve marriage - can a woman be a whore when she only has relations with her husband? Other stories involve women in brothels in various occupations, or women looking for husbands. The common thread among the stories are the men, who have more mobility and choices than many of the women - however, these are not dainty damsels waiting to be rescued. I really enjoyed some of the questions that were raised. I think this book could also be used as an additional book for college classes in the history of women, the social evolution of women, or other similar topics. But I also enjoyed the stories in and of themselves. An explanation of the author's intention was at the end of the book, which could be a problem for those who read e-books. Overall, I liked the book.