by Sylvie Simmons
The biggest challenge in reviewing the book was in separating the author’s work from the life being recounted and it was especially hard as we remembered the man. The recommendation could of course have not been more timely and I for one certainly am glad for having read it at this time over Mr Dylan.
The book was relatively well received with scores of:
Fergal – 8, Brian C – 6.5, Joe – 7 (still more to read), Brian M – 7/7.5, Mike – 7, Shawn – 9, Jim -6.
A very pertinent question raised to actually assigning these numbers is what would a good biography entail and we had a light discussion around this. One thing that was quite rightly raised was the balance between factually simply recounting events and the level of analysis applied to the subject.
Overall this biography was judged to be a bit long (especially for those less familiar with the artist’s work). Additionally based on the interview subjects chosen as well as the material provided purely through oral interviews – how much is actually true? And does it need to be??
‘ A Jewish Boy always looking for his mammy’
There was a sense that it was a cop out for being easily written with light analysis – although provided a wealth of previously unknown information. Although again appreciation may well rest on familiarity with the artists and ability to appreciate based on exposure to his work.
I personally found the act of reading and combining this with Spotify listening to the appropriate album very deeply satisfying.
There was the sense though that maybe there is a better Cohen bio out there – we just don’t know it.
All in all though much enjoyment of it and marks probably reflecting additional respect for the man.