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As It Turns Out

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780349727745

Price: £10.99

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We think we know Edie Sedgwick, Warhol muse, Factory superstar, icon of the 1960s, a comet who flamed out too soon.

As It Turns Out is Edie’s story told from a different point of view – that of her older sister, Alice. As Edie’s fame was in the ascendant, Alice was living a completely different life in Manhattan, far away from the Factory and the Chelsea scene. Then, many years later, chancing on Edie’s image in a clip from Andy’s film Outer and Inner Space, Alice was moved to reconsider Edie’s life and try to figure out what made Edie and Andy such iconic figures whose image and collaborative work have endured for decades. How did he anticipate so much of contemporary culture? Who exactly was Edie, that she fascinated Warhol and captured the imagination of a generation?

Wohl tells Edie’s story, from her privileged and isolated childhood on a California ranch to her escape first to Boston and then to Manhattan, where in 1965 she had her first fateful encounter with Warhol. As It Turns Out is a meditation on the girl behind the irresistible image, and on the culture that she and Warhol ignited. Throughout this thoughtful, truthful reappraisal of Edie’s life, Alice Sedgwick Wohl tries to find a deeper answer to the question: What was the thing about Edie?


Although Edie Sedgwick is always toasted as the Youthquaker socialite of Manhattan, it was isolation on a ranch in California that formed her. Her oldest sister, Alice Wohl, magically evokes the natural wonder of her surroundings--as well as the challenges of growing up in a psychologically complicated family. Commandingly told and original in form, As It Turns Out combines family memoir with an effort to understand the sister Alice barely knew. A broad audience will be riveted by her observations about the symbiotic connections between Edie and Andy and their enduring impact.
Steven Watson, author of Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties
As It Turns Out is a revelation. Alice Sedgwick Wohl reveals herself to be a remarkably talented writer who, with finely turned sentences and lyric passages, paints an unforgettable picture of the strange and singular childhood that produced both herself and her sister Edie Sedgwick . . . Wohl shrewdly analyses the unlikely but perfect partnership between Edie and Andy. Edie and Alice's vast Santa Barbara ranch, in which appearances were everything, corresponded perfectly with Warhol's vision of an art in which under the surface of everything there was only more surface
Alexander Stille, author of The Force of Things
With words as clear cut as crystal, Wohl deftly unpacks the damaging hollowness of the monied world in which she and Edie were raised and contrasts it with the sometimes joyful yet gritty Silver Factory which was a perfect métier for Edie's stream of consciousness way of living. Without a hint of hagiography we meet both Edie and Andy Warhol as they were, not quite 'just kids' but much more tongue-in-cheek than any self-appointed cultural icon today could dare to be. An extremely accurate portrait of Andy's highly complex personality
Michael Findlay, author of Seeing Slowly: Looking at Modern Art
Wohl's book is not a recollection or a mere revision but rather an attempt to understand the intense attention, even obsession, with Edie and Andy, and how their pairing anticipated the age of the influencer . . . Wohl's description is essential to her (and our) understanding of Edie--but also to understanding ourselves, as we enact this tension on social media every day
Jessica Ferri, Los Angeles Times
An absorbing portrait
Kirkus Reviews
[As It Turns Out] picks apart how Andy made Edie, how Edie made Andy, and the infinity mirror of their shared identity. A great pleasure of Sedgwick Wohl's writing is that it is sisterly in the truest sense: irritated but protective, dabbed with globs of jealousy . . . Wohl, who has spent decades watching her sister on film, observes her as if looking through a high-powered telescope
Hillary Kelly, New Yorker
As It Turns Out . . . is the best book I've read pinpointing the New York art scene at a precise pinnacle of change. Along the way, it broke my heart
Patricia Volk, Avenue Magazine
In this sensitive, deeply considered chronicle, Wohl offers a fresh and incisive look at Edie's headline-grabbing adventures with Warhol, her superstar power, and their symbiotic relationship while also musing on Warhol's prescient anticipation of our obsession with images
Donna Seaman, Booklist
Unflinching in its honesty, Wohl's memoir provides a disquieting glimpse into one family in America's privileged class, a family made worthy of examination because one of its members--whose presence lives on luminously in her films--remains a source of fascination more than 50 years after her death . . . What remains, Wohl observes in her sensitive, elegantly written memoir, is the work, [Edie and Andy's] films themselves, which represent 'the era of the image, which was just coming into being
Paul Alexander, Washington Post
A remarkable biography . . . As It Turns Out is a headstrong book with an enticingly conversational tone and heartbreak at every turn
Nell Beram, Shelf Awareness
Sharp descriptions of The Factory and Warhol's art . . . and finally, some profound insights about pop art, the expanding culture of narcissism and the nature of celebrity
Mary Wisniewski, New City
[Wohl] understands and explains the cultural impact and implications of Edie and Andy in a way nobody ever has. [As It Turns Out] is a brilliant and profound work, and, by the end, an almost unbearably moving one
Lili Anolik, Air Mail
Beautiful . . . Wohl adds sensitive shading and texture to the group portrait of the Sedgwicks that emerged in Edie--and a spray of light
Alexandra Jacobs, New York Times
Wohl . . . debuts with a perceptive account of her sibling's life . . . Striking photos help tell the story, and Wohl's exhaustive examination of her sister's vulnerability and star appeal give this a unique position among the many books on the Warhol scene. The result is a thoughtful exploration of a tumultuous life
Publishers Weekly
The life and times of Edie Sedgwick have been written about extensively, but never before like this. In As It Turns Out, Sedgwick's sister, Alice Sedgwick Wohl, writes (in the form of a letter to her late brother) about growing up as part of a complicated, grand family, the sister whose free spirit captured millions of imaginations, and the way her truncated life shaped our culture in ways that are still apparent today
Adam Rathe, Town and Country
Some stories just have to be told. As It Turns Out, Alice Sedgwick Wohl's poignant account of her quest to understand the lost much-younger sister she never really knew--Pop Art icon Edie Sedgwick--pulses with the energy of revelation, the urgency of truth-telling. And there is more: a clear-eyed analysis of Andy Warhol in his heyday and of the enduring legacy of the image-making celebrity pair, Edie and Andy. Turns out Warhol's not the mad-genius villain of this Mod morality tale. Read on and find out why
Megan Marshall, author of Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast