Various Positions: A Life of Leonard Cohen (Canadian Edition)

Various Positions: A Life of Leonard Cohen (Canadian Edition)

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by Ira B. Nadel
     
 

Reissued with a new afterword

Leonard Cohen is back! With a #1 bestselling poetry collection, The Book of Longing, flying off bookshelves; Lian Lunson’s acclaimed documentary, Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man, in theatres this summer (the DVD will release this fall); and the superb soundtrack in music stores everywhere, Leonard Cohen

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Overview

Reissued with a new afterword

Leonard Cohen is back! With a #1 bestselling poetry collection, The Book of Longing, flying off bookshelves; Lian Lunson’s acclaimed documentary, Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man, in theatres this summer (the DVD will release this fall); and the superb soundtrack in music stores everywhere, Leonard Cohen proves he is Canada’s most enduring icon. Now, in the newly reissued Various Positions, Ira Nadel peels back the many layers to reveal the man and explain the fascinating relationship between Leonard Cohen’s life and his art. This book is a remarkable and rare look at Leonard Cohen, up close and personal.

For nearly forty years, Leonard Cohen has endured the ups and downs of an international career that has alternately identified him as the "Prince of Bummers" and Canada's most respected poet and performer. Now, author Ira Nadel brings us closer to understanding these conflicting descriptions and allows us to enter Cohen's private world. He peels back the many layers to reveal the man and explain the fascinating relationship between Cohen's life and his art.

This is a remarkable and rare look at Leonard Cohen, up close and personal.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The definitive biography of Canada's best-known poet and angst-ridden singer."
The Edmonton Sun

"Nadel deserves only applause. He makes it all look so easy, with his graceful prose and well-detailed chapters—thoroughly scholarly and genuinely entertaining at the same time."
The Montreal Gazette

"A candid and frank portrait of the artist— Fans of Cohen will find the book to be a treasure trove of revealing information."
The Toronto Star

"The research is exhaustive, the psychological insights are intelligent, and the life and work are well integrated."
Quill & Quire

"Includes more about Cohen than has ever before been assembled."
The Globe and Mail

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The flamboyant life of Canadian singer/ songwriter, poet and novelist Leonard Cohen (b. 1934) is given straightforward treatment in this authorized biography by Nadel, a book reviewer for the CBC and professor of English at the University of British Columbia. The chief virtues of the book are its thorough research and its honesty. Clearly an admirer of Cohen's work, Nadel is unstinting in his depiction of his subject as one who has "led a life of unfettered romance, largely free of obligations or responsibility." From Cohen's precocious childhood in the Jewish community of Montreal through his years as one of Canada's most promising young poets, to his intermittent career as a sort of lugubrious rock star"the prince of bummers"the artist comes across as egotistical, charming, dilettantish and moody, swinging wildly between vainglory and self-pity. He was an improbabale singer: even Cohen compared his voice to a bumblebeein theory it shouldn't fly, but it does. The melodrama of his life seems manufactured to fit his gifts as both singer and songwriter, but these talents are difficult to evoke in prose, and Nadel isn't likely to convince anyone who isn't yet a fan of Cohen's abilities. The faithful, however, will light scented candles as they follow the well-traced turns of the artist's life. Photos. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Canadian poet/singer/songwriter Cohen has had an unconventional career, culminating in pop music stardom at the age of 54. Nadel expands on his earlier Leonard Cohen: A Life in Art (ECW Pr., 1994) and updates Loranne S. Dorman & Clive L. Rawlins's Leonard Cohen: Prophet of the Heart (Omnibus Pr., 1990) in this biography, which was "benignly tolerated" by Cohen, whose somber songs have been described as "music to slit your wrists by." Nadel used interviews with Cohen and his friends and extensive excerpts from his prose, poems, letters, and lyrics to reveal insights into Cohen's enigmatic life and career. Obsessions with beautiful women, bouts of depression, and an ascetic exploration of Zen Buddhism are all recounted. Occasional factual errors (e.g., Nadel implies that Judy Collins composed her Joni Mitchell-penned hit "Both Sides Now") do not prevent the book from being the most authoritative work yet on the "poet laureate of pessimism." Recommended for popular music collections of public libraries.-Lloyd Jansen, Stockton-San Joaquin Cty. P.L., Cal.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679308843
Publisher:
Random House of Canada, Limited
Publication date:
09/01/1997
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

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