This novel has been translated (and published) into Dutch, German, French, etc., but not into English because of objections from the estate and family of Andy Warhol. It was voted best Swedish novel of the past decade. Earlier, in 2007, it won a major Nordic prize. Its subject matter is Valerie Solanas (VS; 1936-88), who gained worldwide notoriety in 1968 trying to shoot to death painter and multi-media artist Andy Warhol. He survived, but only just. The book title means ‘Dream Factory’, referring to Warhol’s own ‘Factory’ in NY, at the time a magnet for aspiring creative people.
Wikipedia gives a bare outline of the life and works of VS, who, aged 52, died a miserable death in a dirty San Francisco hotel. Sara Stridsberg (SS) has written a marvelous partly-fictional biography of crazy VS, using empathy and compassion to fill in the blanks in Wikipedia’s bio. She portrays an early victim of incest, who is quite intelligent and dreams of owning a typewriter. VS grew up in an ugly way among weird people. Against all odds, she graduated from college and later obtained a degree in psychology.
But from a young age onwards, VS never doubted thoughts, dreams or fantasies that underpinned her worldview. And after her dismissal from university, she dived deeper into a form of feminist radicalism of her own making which ultimately resulted in the famous shooting.
This book/biography has five (5) parts and many brief chapters and paras relating to VS’ various life phases. Throughout the novel, like a countdown, SS sketches the final 21 painful days of VS' death. Not very pleasant reading matter.
But German and other readers, please beware: ‘Traumfabrik’ is not like German TV-series like ‘Traumschiff’ ( ‘Dream Ship’) or ‘Traumhochzeit’ (‘Dream Wedding’). This is not a book to give to friends, relatives, your own children because of its innocent title. It contains more unpleasant, shocking and nasty scenes than in all of, say 10 years of leisurely reading on my part. So please take care. Despite this warning, ‘Traumfabrik’ is a abrilliant tribute to a sorry life of early incest, great intelligence, schizophrenia and feminist extremism.