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Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain Paperback – August 21, 2002
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Cross uncovers plenty of news, mostly grim and gripping. As a teen, Cobain said he had "suicide genes," and his clan was peculiarly defiant: one of his suicidal relatives stabbed his own belly in front of his family, then ripped apart the wound in the hospital. Cobain was contradictory: a sweet, popular teen athlete and sinister berserker, a kid who rescued injured pigeons and laughingly killed a cat, a talented yet astoundingly morbid visual artist. He grew up to be a millionaire who slept in cars (and stole one), a fiercely loyal man who ruthlessly screwed his oldest, best friends. In fact, his essence was contradictions barely contained. Cross, the coauthor of Nevermind: Nirvana, the definitive book about the making of the classic album, puts numerous Cobain-generated myths to rest. (Cobain never lived under a bridge--that Aberdeen bridge immortalized in the 12th song on Nevermind was a tidal slough, so nobody could sleep under it.) He gives the fullest account yet of what it was like to be, or love, Kurt Cobain. Heavier Than Heaven outshines the also indispensable Come As You Are. It's the deepest book about pop's darkest falling star. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Cross' greatest strength is the depth and breadth of his research. Apparently Courtney Love, Kurt's widow, gave Cross extensive access to Kurt's personal effects. She also sat for repeated lengthy interviews, as did many of the other notable players in Kurt's life. This kind of access gives Cross an insight into his subject that those of us who read all the Rolling Stone and Spin Magazine profiles of the man never got. It's revelatory, to be sure. For example, he is able to quote liberally from Kurt's diary, which lets the reader into Kurt's head. It offers such revelations as the following, which describes his concession to the inevitable path of becoming a junkie: "if I feel like a junkie as it is [due to stomach pains], I may as well be one." Or, in Cross' greatest discovery, he describes a long lost video of Kurt bathing his daughter Frances, in a scene of seemingly domestic tranquility. The camera focuses on father and daughter for a long moment, and then abruptly pans around the bathroom. Cross, an observant viewer, notes that in the toothbrush holder, instead of a toothbrush, is a syringe.Read more ›
Cross also neglects to write about Cobain the artist. We learn nothing of his creative process, of his long hours spent practicing guitar, nothing from anyone he's played with. This is too bad because to understand Cobain's life, one must appreciate the role that art played in his life. You cannot remove the music from Cobain's life and tell the story of an ordinary man, because Cobain lived and breathed music for most of his life. Alas, we are left to figure out for ourselves when events in Cobain's life occurred relative to his musical achievements. The only glimpse we get into Cobain's art is when we learn about the woman who inspired several songs on Nevermind, a token account when considering the consistent brilliance of Cobain's songwriting.
The worst problem with this book by far is that Cross relied too heavily on Courtney Love's version of events. This leads to numerous errors in the book, for example, we are told that Love helped Cobain pen Pennyroyal Tea, but any bootlegger knows that Cobain first performed this song in late 1991, before he ever met Love. One can only wonder how many other inaccuracies sprout from Love's egocentric retelling of events, events for which there is only Love's side to the story. For this reason, I consider virtually one third of the book entirely worthless, since it is based on interviews with a person proven to lack credibility.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
He's the reason why I still listen to punk rock even at the post-Nirvana era... Had tears in my eyes after flipping the last page.Published 22 days ago by Hanh
Charles Cross' narrative of Cobain's life is so great that you unconsciously find yourself in Kurt's shoes while flipping every page. Nirvana forever!Published 24 days ago by Sean
Excellent book, depressing of course because of the loss of Kurt, but an excellent read.Published 1 month ago by Connie Falba Woods
This is an unquestionably bias perspective on the events of Cobain's life. Specifically the days leading up to his death. Read morePublished 1 month ago by bryan_ldfrd
A well researched terrific read that brings you into a mentally ill, drug induced individuals life. I will continue to listen to Kurt and Nirvana's music with a soft, empathetic... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Erik Krauss
It's been 12 years since Kurt Cobain decided to end his life using a fatal shot of heroin, and a shotgun. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Gladys