© 2024 Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Public Media from Michigan State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Novel Tells Sad Tale of 'It Girl' in 1970s SoHo

Before it was a haven for designers and fashionistas, New York's SoHo neighborhood was more troubled than trendy.

Run-down and rat-infested, the lower Manhattan neighborhood was home to an assortment of drug users, criminals and seedy shops and clubs. Author Irini Spanidou re-creates this menacing SoHo of the late 1970s in her new novel, Before, the story of a beautiful young woman living with her abusive husband in a SoHo loft.

Twenty-five-year-old Beatrice, who supports her artist husband as an editor's assistant, is surrounded by men who desire her. From a lonely Vietnam veteran to a young heroin addict, Beatrice's companions give her little self-worth even though she's the neighborhood's "It Girl."

Spanidou's haunting novel spans three months in Beatrice's life as she grapples to find some semblance of self-knowledge and control. Spanidou spoke with Scott Simon about SoHo in the late '70s, and the struggles of her troubled protagonist.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Journalism at this station is made possible by donors who value local reporting. Donate today to keep stories like this one coming. It is thanks to your generosity that we can keep this content free and accessible for everyone. Thanks!