WHEN WARHOL WAS STILL ALIVE by Margaret McMullan

WHEN WARHOL WAS STILL ALIVE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 The 1980's are made dull in this undistinguished first novel, set in New York City, about an editorial assistant at a magazine and her off-beat friends and colleagues. Catherine Clemson is the assistant to Fran, the backstabbing, fickle entertainment page editor of a third-rate magazine called Women. When her staid boyfriend, Daniel, leaves for a long business trip to Rome, Catherine decides that it is time she found another guy. In between mediocre dates with random men, Catherine tries on feather boas and whines about her low salary, stagnant career, and frustrating love life. Listening to her is her gay, transvestite best friend Joey, who works in the art department of Women and is obsessed with meeting Andy Warhol. When at last Catherine encounters a man--Wall Street heavy Michael--to whom she is attracted, it turns out he is already involved with Fran. This does not put a damper on their attraction, which results in an abortion for Catherine, sex between Joey and Michael, and bad blood between Fran and Catherine when Fran discovers her deceit. Catherine immerses herself in her work--which includes trying to get a comment from Mick Jagger on his sensual pout--to escape the ruin her personal life has become. Joey dies of AIDS; Catherine is promoted when Fran leaves the magazine; and at the end, Catherine is alone but content. The elements for a light, fun read--silly situations, campy times, and some humorous writing--never come together here. The pace suffers as McMullan's hollow, dissatisfied characters lumber along with no direction, and a sturdy, plausible plot is replaced by trite conventions and 1980's kitsch. What would Andy say?

Pub Date: April 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-89594-651-3
Page count: 204pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1994




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