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Leonard Cohen: A Remarkable Life Hardcover – 4 Oct 2010

3.5 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Omnibus Press; 01 edition (4 Oct. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849381380
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849381383
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 3.4 x 24.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 517,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

The title really is spot on --Q magazine

About the Author

Anthony Reynolds is a critically acclaimed musician, journalist and author. This is his third book.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: 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.
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Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: 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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