The writer, actress and iconic soft-porn star Mary Woronov starred in Warhol's Chelsea Girls and was a dancer at the Factory, where she mixed with the likes of Lou Reed, Gerard Malanga and Nico. These experiences were chronicled in the fine Swimming Underground, also recently published by the admirable Serpent's Tail.
Snake, her third novel, a blur of LSD and blossoming sexuality, is narrated in a stream of consciousness from the Angel's Hope Clinic - a more spiritual version of the Priory. After moving to LA, Sandra marries Donald, a coke-snorting, rubber dress-wearing deviant, who is fond of hosting wild parties. Her flatmate, Tanya, persuades Sandra to take even more drugs. Neither influence helps her delicate mental health.
To complicate matters, Sandra meets Luke, the handsome, yellow-eyed dealer in her apartment block, and they get it together after he kidnaps her. We have little insight into Luke's character, and, like Sandra, we begin to wonder about his motives. Before too long, they are being pursued by the police and a host of undesirables.
The snake of the title alludes to the way in which Sandra sheds her skin, repeatedly reinventing herself. One of the novel's best creations is the old woman with whom Sandra stays on an Ohio farm, whose snake- and pig-killing exploits dispel any illusions of a rural idyll.
In keeping with the novel's druggie setting, Woronov has a habit of going off at a tangent, occasionally losing the plot altogether. But her writing is assured and imaginative - and there is enough slick dialogue here to keep Woronov's fans happy, even if, for most of them, she will for ever be remembered for giving her best performance as the dictatorial prison warder Maxine in Charlie's Angels.