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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a good book
This is a good book. Anthony Reynolds has presented a rattling good story of Leonard and his life up to a few months ago and I would heartily recommend it to anyone who already has a big interest in Leonard and his life and work as well as to those who may have come more recently to him, perhaps as a result of their attendance at the 2008-2010 World Tour performances, so...
Published on 18 Nov 2010 by Jim Devlin

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An unremarkable musical biography
This 'biography' tells us little about Leonard Cohen's remarkable life beyond his career as a musician. It is an account based upon his musical (and to a much lesser extent, literary) output in which the author uses his knowledge of the music industry to describe the vicissitudes of Leonard's career in often quite revealing detail. But there we have both the strengths...
Published on 25 April 2011 by Pablo


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An unremarkable musical biography, 25 April 2011
By 
Pablo (Co. Down/ Navarra) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Leonard Cohen: A Remarkable Life (Hardcover)
This 'biography' tells us little about Leonard Cohen's remarkable life beyond his career as a musician. It is an account based upon his musical (and to a much lesser extent, literary) output in which the author uses his knowledge of the music industry to describe the vicissitudes of Leonard's career in often quite revealing detail. But there we have both the strengths and the weaknesses of the book: the interviewees are in the main session musicians and other figures in the industry who give (in general) honest accounts of their experiences with Cohen in the recording sessions (mainly) or on the road, but aside from the occasional anecdote, their observations are confined to the musical experience. Insights into Cohen the man are thus fragmentary and limited. And the book is padded out with pages of tedious commentaries on the songs in typical musical journalese style. Significantly, Cohen himself has not collaborated with the book. As such we have an account of Cohen's musical career masquerading as a biography. The remarkable life of Cohen the man remains to be documented.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a good book, 18 Nov 2010
This review is from: Leonard Cohen: A Remarkable Life (Hardcover)
This is a good book. Anthony Reynolds has presented a rattling good story of Leonard and his life up to a few months ago and I would heartily recommend it to anyone who already has a big interest in Leonard and his life and work as well as to those who may have come more recently to him, perhaps as a result of their attendance at the 2008-2010 World Tour performances, so well-documented, of course, on the Leonard Cohen Forum pages. And yes I am aware of previous reviews which have carped, very unkindly at times I thought, about the poor standard of proof-reading. And ok, there are a few factual inaccuracies too. But hey, it's more about the whole and not the sum of its parts which matter here.

That [bit of Aristotle] said, I still want to mention a few of the book's highlights: Leonard's Hydra and New York City years are there with a real sense of place and rhythm. The chapters on the Death Of A Ladies' Man sessions in 1976/7 and that horrendous financial crisis in 2005 are full of detail and lucid disclosures. On other matters, several Johns: Lissauer, Bilezikjian and Miller, have a lot to say and I didn't ever lose the plot once.

Leonard's had clearly been a life [of 71 years] so remarkable already, for goodness' sake, in all those busy decades prior to his massive financial crisis in 2005. Five years on, 2010, AR has taken the opportunity to detail an even more remarkable life [e.g. with almost 250 concerts since then on the so ambitious 2008-2010 Tour, with Leonard now at 76, for goodness sake - BUT for which, of course so many of us will be for ever thankful in a very weird kinda way]. I would have liked more, however, about individual songs and Philip Glass's song cycle [not a `musical', p.278] `Book Of Longing' in 2007 deserved more consideration.

AR has presented his very persuasive and up-to-date account for our serious consideration in an enjoyably friendly tone. I hooked into a verve and momentum which kept me wanting to read on and on and on. My biggest disappointment was, quite honestly and simply, when I got to the last page.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Into the past, 10 Feb 2012
By 
B. W. Thew (Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Leonard Cohen: A Remarkable Life (Hardcover)
I have to say that I enjoyed this book. I read it in a couple of days and found it very interesting. I am not in any way an expert on Cohen and if I was I doubt I would read this. However for someone wanting to know a bit of his background it fills the bill extremely well. A number of people have complained about mistakes and poor editing. They are there but the majority are minor and easy to work around.

To sum up, if you want to learn a little about Cohens life this provides a glimpse but a reasonably comprehensive glimpse. An autobiography could be more interesting, or it could be too cleaned up. Lacking this the current book is well worth your time and money.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars More than 500 errors ....., 4 Sep 2011
This review is from: Leonard Cohen: A Remarkable Life (Hardcover)
A very badly written book - no biography, very little about Leonard Cohen's life, more about his albums. There are too many errors to even begin listing them; some say more than 500, and not only spelling and grammar, but factual errors galore. Reynolds apparently had no editor.

Anyone who thinks of buying this book, please go to the leonardcohenforum and read the lengthy and insightful reviews of D B Cohen and Tom Sakic and you will know that this is a waste of money.

I am not English-speaking but even for me this was disastrous, a real shame that a man like Leonard Cohen who is a master of words is the subject of such a poor book. Luckily I borrowed the book and did not spend anything on it.

Those who rated this four or five stars clearly have no knowledge of the life and work of Mr Cohen, who is a remarkable man, indeed.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful., 24 Feb 2011
This review is from: Leonard Cohen: A Remarkable Life (Hardcover)
What a thoroughly excellent book this is. I have been an on-off fan of Cohen's for years, but the personal investment Reynolds displays in his subject - not least the vivid portraits of songs we know and love - made me crank up the phonograph and listen to some very neglected Cohen vinyl.

Reynold's sparse but fluid use of language and externalised internal monologue is superb. It's littered with facts and dates and all the usual information vomit biographies tend to bring with them. Yet, the way Reynold's light and affectionate prose disguises even the most trivial of detail is the mark of a writer with ink in his veins. I genuinely had a hard time putting it down. I almost made myself want to go to toilet so I could sit in peace and continue reading without (much) interruption :)

Okay, there are some proof reading clangers, but that will be mended once it goes into second print. Something, I am sure, a book as cleverly and intelligently approached & executed as this, will do.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Live and die by the details, 28 July 2011
This review is from: Leonard Cohen: A Remarkable Life (Hardcover)
This is a very focused biography in that it has a lot of detail regarding the regarding the recording sessions, who was present, who did what and apart from the universal impression from everyone that LC was a true gentleman we don't learn very much about LC. Yes, we learn that in year 19xx he travelled to X, Y and Z or played with a list of musicians but these are just facts. We simply don't get much insight in to LC himself.

As a general read it is interesting enough though I think you have to be an LC fan, familiar with his early work rather than a new fan who came to him due to the recent tour, in order to understand the crooked recording and creative path described in this book.

However, now we come to the part I hate about this book. The editor and the proof-reader should be shot. Almost every page contains mistakes. Spelling, grammar, missing words, double words and half sentences litter the work making it incongruous to read. The eye is constantly brought up short as these mistakes break up the smooth flow of the narrative. As a biography this book lays out detail after detail sculpted from plenty of research, this is brought in to sad contrast with the lack of attention to detail by the publisher. Even Microsoft Word would have caught most of these errors, so it's very annoying that someone at the publisher forgot to use a proper spell and grammer checker.

Certainly this is a good enough read for LC fans, just be prepared to suffer breaks in your reading concentration.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Artist in the Mirror, 5 Dec 2010
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This review is from: Leonard Cohen: A Remarkable Life (Hardcover)
A magnificent, must-read book not only for fans of Leonard Cohen, but for anyone with a genuine interest in the creative evolution of the contemporary artist. Having interviewed, at length, just about anyone and everyone connected with LC, Anthony Reynolds has done more than construct an invaluable archive: he has orchestrated the material into a pitch-perfect recounting of Cohen's `messianic childhood' in Montreal, his seminal poetry, his Byronic exile in Greece, development as a novelist, his world-wide fame as a singer-songwriter, the claret-drenched middle period, his retreat to a Buddhist monastery (`6.500 feet above man and time'), and the astonishing septuagenarian return to touring of the last few years. Reynolds is formidably well qualified for this project. As singer-songwriter, frontman of the band, Jack, author of an acclaimed collection of poetry and biographer of Scott Walker, he covers the entire waterfront (indeed, we should be so grateful that he taken that much time out from his own creative projects to put-together this respectful, empathetic life and critical appreciation of one of the `singing masters of [his] soul'). True, there are a number of typos - Joyce's Ulysses appeared with 6,000 errors (who cared then? cares now?) - but I didn't notice them on a first reading, carried along, as I was, by prose as natural and beautiful as the pattern made by dust on a butterfly's wing. Leonard Cohen, I'm sure, would quietly appreciate that pattern, would recognise the artist in this truly remarkable mirror. Add this to your basket and find yourself returning to this book time and again, as to a treasured photograph (and there are many of Cohen and his milieu to savour here - works of art in themselves ...).
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written and thought-provoking, 19 Nov 2010
This review is from: Leonard Cohen: A Remarkable Life (Hardcover)
This is a beautiful looking book and the cover and inner photographs (many by old Cohen bassist, John Miller and previously unpublished) warrant a 3 star rating alone. But as with Reynolds' previous books the text is also extremely fluent and worthy and packed with new and credible insights and information. (Reynolds is himself a musician). Many of Cohen's colleagues are interviewed- including Sharon Robinson, John Lissaeur, Tony Palmer, as well as a host of musicians who played with Cohen both on stage and in the studio. The resulting insight into the actual making of so many classic albums is hitherto unmatched. (The book should really be called a remarkable life in Music)? All other facets of Cohen's life are covered however and the Hydra, Spector and latter years are particularly enlightening and evocative.
To those already knowledgeable of Cohen's life some facts will of course seem over familiar but there is a wealth of new information and insight in this book to make it a must for even the most casual Cohen-ite. The purely negative reviews posted by others make little sense in this context. Where is the perspective? Yes, there are numerous typos and a few other errors but for those who don't read their books with a magnifying class these are hardly a spoiler. The writing overall is much like Cohen himself - Humorous, beguiling, fluent and poetic. A different title would not go amiss however.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars VERY disappointed, 9 Oct 2011
By 
Jax (Devon) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Leonard Cohen: A Remarkable Life (Hardcover)
This book is so badly written that I am struggling to read it. I am great Leonard Cohen fan and bought this despite other poor reveiws because I thought that as I love the man so much I would still enjoy the book. It is difficult to read and I'm sorry I bought it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 1 July 2014
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This review is from: Leonard Cohen: A Remarkable Life (Hardcover)
great
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Leonard Cohen: A Remarkable Life
Leonard Cohen: A Remarkable Life by Anthony Reynolds (Hardcover - 4 Oct 2010)
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