David Wojnarowicz was an abused child, a teen runaway who barely finished high school, but he emerged as one of the most important voices of his generation. He found his tribe in New York’s East Village, a neighborhood noted in the 1970s and ’80s for drugs, blight, and a burgeoning art scene. His creativity spilled out in paintings, photographs, films, texts, installations, and in his life and its recounting - creating a sort of mythos around himself. His circle of East Village artists moved into the national spotlight just as the AIDS plague began its devastating advance, and as right-wing culture warriors reared their heads. As Wojnarowicz’s reputation as an artist grew, so did his reputation as an agitator - because he dealt so openly with his homosexuality, so angrily with his circumstances as a Person With AIDS, and so fiercely with his would-be censors.
Fire in the Belly is the untold story of a polarizing figure at a pivotal moment in American culture - and one of the most highly acclaimed biographies of the year.
"[Fire in the Belly is] unimprovable as a biography - thorough, measured, beautifully written, loving but not uncritical - as a concentrated history of his times, and as a memorial." (Luc Sante, Bookforum)
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An absolute must !
- ILAN COHEN
So glad this was available on Audible!
I'll be forever thankful to Cynthia Carr for this incredibly comprehensive, evocative, thoroughly researched and atmospheric account of a fascinating and underrated East Village artist--from his harrowing childhood to his premature death from AIDS. It's a biography not only of the man but of an era. It made me wistful and nostalgic, and brought me back to a long-gone NYC when things were raw, exciting, gritty, and full of possibilities, even at a time of plague.
Very hard to say. The book is like an incredible tapestry of intricately interwoven events and observations. It would be hard to isolate one as a standout moment, especially given that this is a biographical work.
Question does not really apply to this book, which is a biography.
Ms Barrett does have a nice, even, clear voice that is very easy to listen to (even though she does tend to over-enunciate at times).
HOWEVER-- I was kind of appalled that she didn't know how to pronounce an alarming number of words and names. And she completely demolished every French word she pronounced. I don't expect perfect, prissy language but an Audible reader should be able to pronounce fairly common terms, names, and places, especially for a book filled with cultural references like this one. "Basquiat," for instance, was uttered in every conceivable way except the correct one. "Oeuvre" was occasionally pronounced as "oorf" and any European artwork or artist names were mangled to the point of farce.
Ms. Carr's text deserved better than this.
I actually dreaded passages in which David W. was heading back to France because I knew that I'd be subjected to more hideous mispronunciations. But aside from such considerable distractions, she read beautifully. I wish she could go back and record over the gaffes, though this would take a considerable amount of painstaking work.
Yes, although that would have been one extraordinarily long sitting!
Loved it. One of the best artist biographies I have ever read.