Winner of the Nordic Prize in Literature, acclaimed Swedish novelist Sara Stridsberg makes her American debut with Valerie, conjuring the life and mind of 1960s firebrand, American feminist, and author of the SCUM manifesto, Valerie Solanas.
In April 1988, Valerie Solanas—the writer, radical feminist, and would-be assassin of Andy Warhol—was discovered dead at fifty-two...more
Except it isn’t, not really. It’s much more complex than that. This is not a biography, neither is it a straightforward fictionalised account of Solanas’ life. The author describes it as a ‘literary fantasy’. It warps and distorts the biographical details, it is disorienting and ...more
edited 9 April - I can't believe this one missed out on the shortlist!!
This is a vibrant, visceral reimagining of the life and legacy of Valerie Solanas, the radical feminist whose 15 minutes of notoriety came in 1968 when she shot and almost killed Andy Warhol.
Stridsberg gets her disclaimer in from the start: "The Faculty of Dreams is not a biography, it is a literary fantasy derived from the life and work of Valerie Solanas, American, now ...more
It's nightmarish - there's a tonne of disturbing content in it. But on the other hand- the way it's written is mesmerising. you cannot drop the book. You swirl into the story- although it makes you uncomfortable.
I want to avoid saying I liked it- because I kind of hated it, but I loved it. Does this make sense?
Valerie Solanas had an exceptionally tough life, as her attorney explains in the novel:
FLORYNCE KENNEDY: On June 10, 1968 I was appointed public defense counsel in the case New York State versus Valerie Solanas. I described Valerie as one of the most ...more
I think you are the saddest girl I have ever met. There are no paths in the dark. There is nothing to tell. I cannot tell you how sad I am. I cannot talk about it. It is not possible to think outside your thoughts.
Book 11/13 from the Man Booker International and my favourite so far.
'The Faculty of Dreams: Amendment to the Theory of Sexuality OR Valerie' has been translated by Deborah ...more
I can never really figure out what I want from novels which fictionalize the lives of real people. Because my ...more
This also applies to the map of America, there being no deserts in Georgia.
As I went into this book, I knew the name “Valerie Solanas” and I knew she was famous for ...more
Even though this was written in Swedish, I felt like I was reading a poorly translated book the entire time. I had to keep telling myself that no, this is actually a Swedish book. I know it's set in the US (speaking of which, is the misspelling of the birthplace of Valerie intentional?) and that it's very American in general, but the linguistic Americanism ...more
This novel is a fictional biography of Valerie Solanas, the woman who shot but failed to kill Andy Warhol in 1968. The review by Neil (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...) and Paul (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...) provide a superb description of the structure of the novel, meaning I do not have to try. As Hugh notes in his ...more
tl:dr: Our fifteen minutes of fame can feel like a lifetime for some.
I've never wanted to read Swedish more than today when I finished up this book. This book is probably one of those classical described as literary. While the book isn't terribly long, you will want to pour over some of the languages. The text is layered and complex. There were moments when I was totally lost and had to start again. But, in some ways, that only made the book stronger.
The book ...more
Reading this book at work last month a co-worker says “oh, SCUM! My professor read that to us on orientation day at CED@ Berkeley.” A man in his early 30’s who, it turns out, agrees with a lot of SCUM’s ...more
This book may be one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. It's full of both hidden and obvious poetry. Meanwhile it draws you into the history of a sad soul (Valerie Solanas), and how she handles her background.
Though I'm frustrated to read how roughly she abuses her intelligence, but at the same time impressed to ...more
It's a very challenging and complex novel, not an easy read, but at the same time one those book you keep on reading because you're fascinated by the prose and what you're reading.
I don't know if it's the translation or the style of the writer but I couldn't stop reading even if this totally out of my comfort zone.
I read about Valerie Solanas, the ...more
Told in the form of a mosaic, jumping between the key moments in her life - her childhood, time in mental institutions, the courtroom and her deathbed - it is initially a difficult novel to get ahold of. I felt like I was grasping at thin air for 100 pages. But once things start to fall into place it is a very rewarding read.
The whole thing left ...more
THE FACULTY OF DREAMS (2007) centers on the radical American feminist, Valerie Solanas, famed for her SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men) Manifesto and her attempt to kill Andy Warhol. It is not a biography, but “a literary fantasy” based on Solanas’ life and ...more
"....but being unloved is an act of terror."
"Valerie. Marilyn. Roslyn. Ulrike. Sylvia. Dorothy. Cosmogirl. A kind of insane genius. She has lost her marbles. That means we will wipe out her memories. Electroshock, injections, straitjackets, Elmhurst."
Probably one of best books I have read in this year. I hadn heard about Valerie Solane before this book. If you are someone who is moved by anguish of likes of Marilyn Munro, Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath; I will highly recommend this book - it ...more
It was quite disturbing and crude. Every third sentence describes something including vomit, urin, blood or a sexual reference. The writing feels like someone rambling high on drugs. Is that really necessary?
Why would I like reading weird metaphors á la "the mirror is a foul-smelling stranger".
I also didn't like the dialogue written out. It felt very abrupt and I prefer a ...more
There is no reason to tell the truth when it is so easy to lie. p218
Everything is made up. p282
The problem with this philosophy is that it will lead to grave trouble and an inauthentic self who will eventually become so mired in deception that meaning becomes meaningless. To lie is to attempt to be free of the truth, but lies can obscure, entangle,refute or flee from the truth but never set the liar free. Lies ...more
Everything reaches it’s end, certainly Valerie Solanas reached her’s in a sad hotel room “last stop for dying whores and junkies”, and with this creative novel Sara Stridsberg brings her back to life, in the only way writers can, through exploring her past and freely using creative imagination. Valerie Jean Solanas, feminist and author of The SCUM Manifesto shot ...more
At times, reading her ideology was very difficult. She was a certified ...more
The book tells the story of a woman's messed up life, in a series of episodes from her early life and end of life, plus interviews and musings. It is very well written and deserves its place on the prize list. It did not leave me with any wish to read more about the real Valerie Solanas or her manifesto, but I did check the translation of solanas; it means the sun or a sunny place in Spanish ...more
My rating reflects my admiration for this book even more than my enjoyment of it. It's a semi-fictional novel about the life of Valerie Solanas - famous for writing the SCUM manifesto in 1967, giving rise to radical feminism, and for shooting Andy Warhol in 1968.
This book is written in a very experimental style, which at times I loved and at other times I loathed. The narrative weaves back and forth in time through series of dialogue and ...more
In 2007, she was awarded the Nordic Council's Literature Prize for her novel Drömfakulteten (The Dream Faculty), which is her second novel and a fictitious story about Valerie Solanas, who wrote the SCUM manifesto, which Stridsberg has ...more