I apologise for the flippant nature of my earlier review, realising now that it was not helpful. I can only plead that, in the excitement of reading, I felt moved to write something that one of his companions in Soho might have typed out, on the old Remington, late at night, after a chaotic evening in Dylan's presence.
The genius of Lycett's book, it seems to me, is that his research enables him to take us there, literally day by day, to follow an extraordinary life. Lycett also adds his own wry comments, never harsh but always illuminating, as though he, in fact, were one of that raucous, happy and sad crowd who knew they were experiencing a special, yet impossible being. Some of the stories about Dylan's behaviour keep me laughing out loud. The sadnesses move me to tears. And, above all, is the beauty of Dylan's words. My favourite poem in English, with plenty of runners up,(Donne especially, whom I think Dylan appreciated), has long been 'Fern Hill' and 'Under Milk Wood' can only grow upon one every time of reading, or, better still, listening. Lycett lets us know how these masterpieces came about. The photographs are also wonderfully revealing. Can you beat the one on the cover?
A further strength of Lycett's assessment is his placing Dylan in the contemporary and historical context of English poetry, something of which Dylan was very aware. Although, I hesitate at this point, because Dylan Thomas was not simply (?) a poet. Lycett shows how many talents he had in other fields, especially screen writing & broadcasting &, above all, his effect on others who were in his presence & who usually loved him.
As a family therapist myself, I also admire the way that Lycett has sought to reveal the influence upon Dylan of life at his parents' lovely address, over the years ... the teenaged Rimbaud.
We can all learn so much from this wonderful book.
' ... though I sang in my chains like the sea'.