Sunday, August 19, 2007


When I hear Joe Andoe’s name, one thing comes to mind. I know it’s not an entirely accurate picture. I know there is so much more. Yet I can’t help it. When I think of Andoe, when his name crosses my desk, I think of a ghostly horse on a dark background. I think of mood and impression in a style that The New Yorker once described as “cowboy noir with a fashionista twist.”

There are a few other things Andoe’s name might conjure for me -- a few other words that might come to mind -- however one of them is not “author.” And yet, here we are with a copy of Jubilee City: A Memoir at Full Speed (William Morrow), Andoe’s look back at a life (thus far) lived alternately well and hard.

Andoe isn’t a writer -- that might be too much to ask of someone who is (arguably) one of the ranking painters in the world. (OK: so I’m a fan.) But what Andoe lacks in literary skill, he makes up for with charm and verve and variety. As Publishers Weekly said about Jubilee City:
... whenever the gonzo stories verge on tedium, Andoe modulates his tone and shows himself as the stay-at-home dad, the outdoorsman, the artist. While Andoe has an occasional tendency to settle scores (his ex-wife receives particularly brutal treatment) or trumpet his status as an outsider, for the most part his wide-eyed sense of wonder and keen observations make the everyday strange and fresh.
Which, when one thinks about it, is not so very different from what he’s done as an artist.


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