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Various Positions: A Life of Leonard Cohen Paperback – Sep 1997

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Random House of Canada Ltd; Reprint edition (Sept. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679308849
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679308843
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.3 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,306,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen started out as a poet, before economic necessity led him into folk singing. In this thorough biography, Nadel, a Canadian English professor, tells of Cohen's childhood in Montreal, his university days in Toronto, his travels to the United States and Greece, and the publishing of his early poetry which earned him a considerable reputation. Cohen's verse proved translatable into song and his deep voice was melodic enough for him to make it at the folk festivals. His dark lyrics of depression and self-doubt, of searching for meaning in sexual release, of a life suffused with restless intensity, struck a chord with a worldwide audience. Though suicide was a constant theme of his songs, Nadel finishes the book optimistically with Cohen finding peace at a Zen monastery in Los Angeles. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By P. A. Mitchell on 11 July 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This biography by Ira B. Nadel is a very good insight into the life and careers of Leonard Cohen. I say careers as he started out as a poet and writer and the first 6 chapters deal with his family, childhood, education and his early careers as a poet and novelist. Also of course his life as seen from the perspective of a Jewish person living in Montreal,Canada. His journeys also took him around the world both as someone interested in Jewish history and also later as a singer/songwriter, musician. He was a speaker too and often read from his poetry and prose. I have to admit that I am interested in Leonard Cohen more as a singer/ songwriter and so I did find the first half of the bio a tad boring to be honest. However chapters 7 - 13 were of real interest as it deals with his musical career but this version only takes us up until 1996 and I hope to buy the sequel version that takes us up to 2010 and so will include his world tours with the ' sublime Webb Sisters'. Naturally his earlier backing singers Jennifer Warnes and Sharon Robinson are mentioned but not as much as they would be later in his career, especially Sharon.I should also say that he spent some 25 years studying Zen and often retreated to a monastery at Mount Baldy in California for months on end, living the very simple life. I can't deny that he was a bit of a 'ladies man' and of course some of his ladyfriends are namechecked in his songs - Marianne,Nancy and of course Suzanne Elrod who was his one and only wife and the mother of his two children,daughter Lorca and son Adam. Cohen had a fear of marriage and although had many, many ladyfriends only married the once.Read more ›
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 July 1999
Format: Paperback
I much prefer autobiographies to other biographies. Biographies tend to be clumsily assembled or stitched or thrown together and filled out with plodding prose. And so this biography. Well, at least you get some kind of overview of Leonard Cohen's life, and here and there some fragments of Leonard Cohen's incisive wit. Two samples:
Author: "My publisher wants to know if this can be considered an authorized biography." L.C.: "It can be considered a tolerated biography, benignly tolerated."
Leonard Cohen is interviewing his famous actress girlfriend Rebecca De Mornay: Rebecca: "The great advantage to having you interview me is that I won't have to field questions about Leonard Cohen." L.C.: "Yes, let's talk about Leonard Cohen. What's he really like?"
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By Jaxx on 6 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I knew this was a used book but was disappointed when it arrived. It was very very tatty and there were pieces of the book that had been cut out!!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Leonard! 30 Mar. 2013
By Robert O'Brian - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The only songwriter who may be Dylan's equal, not just in the same league, but his actual equal. I've been looking forward to this book for a while.
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