Review: a by Andy Warhol

In the mid-1960s Pop Artist Andy Warhol decided to create a novel that was in one part an experimental novel and one part a pop art answer to Ulysses. It begins with Warhol superstar Robert Olivo, known as Odine in the book, popping pills. Warhol, known as Drella in the book, begins taping him and will supposedly follow Odine for the next twenty four hours. (In reality, the taping occurred over a two year period, and at least one tape was thrown out the window by the irate mother of one of the young woman paid to transcribe the conversations.) What follows is a bunch of sometime mundane, sometimes perverse and sometimes downright bizarre conversations between some truly awful people. Left almost entirely unedited, the transcripts that form the novel are rough, often changing format depending on who was working on them and are filled with errors. It is horrible, yet a strange insight into the lives of those who were connected to Andy Warhol and his infamous factory.

I did not enjoy this novel, because it isn't something that is necessarily read for enjoyment. As an insight into the lives of Warhol's superstars and various hangers on, it is entertaining in its own absurd way. There are some truly strange conversations. By the end, I was not surprised that many of the Warhol superstars who appeared early on were nowhere to be found, that Odine's mental state seemed to be rapidly declining (and his drug addiction increasing,) and I was beginning to hate Drella/Warhol more and more for the almost sociopathic way he was recording everything on tape. As for the a, I suspect it was supposed to stand for amphetamine, but it could just as easily stand for Andy, Art, or well ... arsehole considering that was what most of the people in the book seem to be.

Insightful, but not really recommended.


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