Three Month Fever: The Andrew Cunanan Story

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9780060931124: Three Month Fever: The Andrew Cunanan Story

It was suddenly chic to be "targeted" by Andrew.... It also became chic to claim a deep personal friendship with Versace, to infer that one might, but for a trick of fate, have been with Versace at the very moment of his "assassination," as it had once been chic to reveal one's invitation to Cielo Drive in the evening of the Tate slayings, an invitation only declined because of car trouble or a previous engagement... -- from Three Month Fever

First published in 1999, Gary Indiana's Three Month Fever is the second volume of his famed crime trilogy, now being republished by Semiotext(e). (The first, Resentment, reissued in 2015, was set in a Menendez trial-era L.A.) In this brilliant and gripping hybrid of narrative and reflection, Indiana considers the way the media's hypercoverage transformed Andrew Cunanan's life "from the somewhat poignant and depressing but fairly ordinary thing it was into a narrative overripe with tabloid evil."

"America loves a successful sociopath," Indiana explains. This sardonic and artful reconstruction of the brief life of the party boy who became a media sensation for shooting Gianni Versace is a spellbinding fusion of journalism, social commentary, and novelistic projection. By following Cunanan's notorious "trail of death," Indiana creates a compelling portrait of a brilliant, charismatic young man whose pathological lies made him feel more like other people -- and more interesting than he actually was. Born in a working-class exurb of San Diego and educated at an elite private school, Cunanan strove to "blend in" with the upscale gay male scene in La Jolla. He ended up crazed and alone, eventually embarking on a three-month killing spree that took the lives of five men, including that of Versace, before killing himself in a Miami boathouse, leaving behind a range of unanswerable questions and unsolvable mysteries.

"Gary Indiana belongs to a special breed of American urban writers who take cool pleasure in dissecting the lives of the rich and ugly and is possibly the most jaded chronicler of them all. On a good day, he makes Bret Easton Ellis look like Enid Blyton, yet many, myself included, think he might have already written the Great America Novel(s)." -- Christopher Fowler, The Independent

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Product Description:

The story of Andrew Cunanan's life, which generated an astonishing sequence of media coverage in a very short time. The author explores his childhood, adolescence, education and troubled adulthood that resulted in his becoming a serial killer and ultimately murdering the media celebrity, Gianni Versace.

Review:

Andrew Cunanan had already killed four people when he shot Gianni Versace, notes Gary Indiana, but since "only media celebrities are considered to have actual existence" in American culture, it took the murder of the famous fashion designer to make Cunanan's story--which was quickly packaged as a "narrative overripe with tabloid evil"-- worth noticing. Three-Month Fever deflates the hype surrounding the case, using a variety of experimental journalistic techniques to explore Cunanan's personality and recreate his frame of mind at the time of the killings. Far from being a "homicidal homosexual" aberration, Indiana says, Cunanan's life before the murders was actually rather mundane, even in its extremes. Indiana also easily distinguishes between these extremes and hysterical fabrications by the press. For example, Indiana cites the restaurant tabs charged to Cunanan's credit card to debunk the theory that use of crystal meth was a factor in the murders: "One indisputable characteristic of people on crystal meth is they don't eat. People on steroids, however, eat plenty. If we could put the crystal meth together with testosterone ... but we can't. A mountain of sushi rules it out."

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