A fever dream of a novel—strangely funny, entirely unconventional—Valerie conjures the life, mind, and art of American firebrand Valerie Solanas
In April 1988, Valerie Solanas—the writer, radical feminist, author of the SCUM Manifesto and would-be assassin of Andy Warhol—was discovered dead at fifty-two in her hotel room, in a grimy corner of San Francisco, alone, penniless, and surrounded by the typed pages of her last writings.
In Valerie, a nameless narrator revisits the room where Solanas died, the courtroom where she was tried and convicted of attempting to murder Andy Warhol, the Georgia wastelands where she spent her childhood and was repeatedly raped by her father and beaten by her alcoholic grandfather, and the mental hospitals where she was shut away.
A leading feminist in Sweden and one of the most acclaimed writers in Scandinavia, Sara Stridsberg here blurs the boundaries between history and fiction, self-making and storytelling, madness and art, love and tragedy. Through imagined conversations and monologues, reminiscences and rantings, she reconstructs this most intriguing and enigmatic of women, reaching back in time to amplify her voice and bring her powerful, heartbreaking story into new light.
Praise for Valerie
Longlisted for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize
Winner of the Nordic Council Literature Prize
“Inventive and stimulating . . . As each new piece of Stridsberg’s portrait of Valerie is added, it alters the big picture, provocatively. The novel is as much about how little one can understand other people as it is about Valerie’s life. Stridsberg entertainingly casts new light on both Solanas and on how society views pop culture.”
“This is a brilliant re-imagining of the life and times of one of America’s great cultural icons. If Solanas was alive I’m sure she’d be amazed (and perhaps even gratified) to see what poetic feeling her remarkable destiny has aroused.”
—Vivian Gornick, author of The Odd Woman and the City
Sara Stridsberg is an internationally acclaimed writer and playwright. Her fiction and nonfiction books have been translated into more than twenty languages. A former member of the Swedish Academy, she is a leading feminist and artist in her native Sweden and around the world. Valerie is her first book to be published in the US.
Deborah Bragan-Turner has a degree in Scandinavian languages from the University College London. She translates Swedish literature, particularly literary fiction and biographies.