November 19, 1993 at 05:00 AM EST

Nico: The End

Current Status
In Season
James Young

Voyeurs, take heart! Nico: The End‘s an intimate peek into the dreary world of the legendary Nico — a.k.a. Christa Paffgen — who for a time found the spotlight, first in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, then in Andy Warhol’s art film Chelsea Girls, and then with the Velvet Underground prior to making four dark solo records. This book’s universe exists only in the memory of Young himself, the keyboardist for Nico’s mid-‘ 80s performances shortly before her accidental death in 1988, at the age of 49, from a cerebral hemorrhage after a bicycle fall. He documents the indelible nastiness of life on the road with this self-destructive woman — the emotional isolation of each musician, the minimal recognition from critics and fans, the heroin daze of the German “Angel of Death,” as Nico’s manager refers to her. Young’s didactic harping on Nico’s addiction, made palatable by his sarcasm, is none too subtle. But he knows what we want — the lowdown on Nico’s habit, her disinterest in bathing and sex, her abusive relationship with her son — and, with a droll sense of glee, he gives it all. A-

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