Woronov (Wake for the Angels) was a Cornell undergraduate when she was ``discovered'' by Andy Warhol protg Gerard Malanga and suddenly found herself drawn into Warhol's notorious circle of counterculture hipsters. Seduced by the decadent glamour of the scene that revolved around Warhol's famous Factory, a world where ``wanting was better than having, looking was better than being-it was the land of reflections,'' Woronov dropped out of college, appeared in several of Warhol's underground movies, notably Chelsea Girls, and embraced the weird fascinations of New York City's '60s drug culture. Here she weaves a vivid, impressionistic account of her time in Warhol's inner circle, a chapter in her life that came to an end when her addiction to speed got out of hand. Beginning in a tone of youthful excitement and slowly descending into one of frenetic despair, these memoirs are highly compelling and offer insightful portraits of such Factory notables as Lou Reed, Ondine and Nico. Woronov's prose is often dazzling; while she notes that Warhol himself was ``uncomfortable with words,'' she proves herself a wordsmith. Her writing alone makes this an engrossing read. Photos. (Nov.)
Leaving Cornell University in 1964, Woronov joined the human odds and ends that congregated at Andy Warhol's famed Factory in New York City's SoHo. She soon found herself part of the stage show for Warhol's rock band creation, the Velvet Underground, and survived primarily on amphetamines. Her Factory peak, however, was her starring role in Warhol's infamous film, Chelsea Girls (1967). Woronov tells her version of those years in a highly personal and impressionistic style, befitting the author of the short story collection Wake for the Angels (LJ 9/1/94). Though the usual cast of Warhol characters makes their appearance here (International Velvet, Ondine, Nico, Billy Name, etc.), the author's account is not for those seeking a history of the Factory years, for which Ultra Violet's Famous for 15 Minutes: My Years with Andy Warhol (LJ 11/15/88) or Nat Finkelstein's Andy Warhol: The Factory Years (St. Martin's, 1989. o.p.) provide a more reliable chronicle. An optional purchase for most collections.-Martin R. Kalfatovic, Smithsonian Inst. Libs., Washington, D.C.
n ^IWake for the Angels" , Woronov demonstrated both her artistic and literary gifts. Here, in this blazing memoir about her nearly lethal experiences at the Warhol Factory during the late 1960s, Woronov sticks to prose and proves herself to be a writer of awesome intensity. She begins with an unforgettable scene from her childhood that reveals the dynamism of her imagination and the depth of her alienation. These forces eventually compel her to plunge headlong into the amphetamine-fueled, sexually ambiguous, and often frankly evil world that, miraculously enough, produced the Velvet Underground and Warhol's radical films. Woronov has nothing good to say about Andy, in fact, she is breathtakingly vicious about a lot of people. Her searing humor, eviscerating honesty, and willful perversity are set within a hallucinatory, almost Burroughs-like, narrative. As Woronov describes her relationships with Warhol, Lou Reed, Ondine (known as the Pope), and other notorious characters, she transforms amphetamine's teeth-gnashing high into an astonishing array of mythic animal metaphors. This is a runaway train of a book, frightening yet exhilaratingly poetic.