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Letters to Kurt Hardcover – March 27, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Akashic Books (March 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1617750832
  • ISBN-13: 978-1617750830
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #603,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Erlandson is known as the cofounder, songwriter, and lead guitarist of the rock band Hole, but he has performed in the shadows of his more famous, and infamous, colleagues and friends, especially Kurt Cobain, the iconic lead singer of the premier grunge band, Nirvana, who committed suicide at the height of his fame, and Courtney Love, Erlandson’s former girlfriend and Hole bandmate. As it turns out, Hole released their debut album, Pretty on the Inside, a week before the release of Nirvana’s behemoth best-seller Nevermind. Within a month, notes Erlandson, Love and Cobain were a couple. From then on, Erlandson assumed “a sort of friend/caretaker role,” serving as both Cobain’s sounding board and morale booster even as he felt pangs of “subconscious jealousy.” In addition to Cobain, other friends and associates of Erlandson’s self-destructed during a relatively short period of time. Erlandson finally comes to terms with his loss in 52 prose-poem letters ostensibly addressed to Cobain, in which he straightforwardly confronts his inner demons while offering personal reflections on food, drug abuse, death, and self-sabotage. --June Sawyers

About the Author

Eric Erlandson was born and raised in San Pedro, California. He is best known as cofounder, songwriter, and lead guitarist of the alternative rock band Hole, which he formed with Courtney Love. Their albums Pretty on the Inside, Live Through This, and Celebrity Skin achieved international recognition and success. Live Through This was named one of the top 100 albums of all time by Time magazine. Since the breakup of the band in 2002, Erlandson has been involved in a number of musical and literary projects. He has a BS in Economics from Loyola Marymount University and practices Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism. He currently lives in Los Angeles.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Charlotte on May 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I love Hole and really admire anyone who could cowrite all of those great songs, especially from the pissed-off punk of Live Through This & the lighter but maybe even angrier Celebrity Skin. So, Bravo Eric Erlandson the songwriter/guitarist. Sadly, this book is by the less talented Eric Erlandson the prose writer, a person who seems to have a lot of ideas but no strong guide to give them form. Akashic, the publisher, did him no favors by allowing this book into print at this stage. There are things here that should never have made it into an adult's final draft of anything. For instance, raw yogurt upsets Erlandson's stomach, seitan makes him constipated (as do a long list of other foods), and Erlandson has hugged someone hard enough to be "at the risk of pooping" (111). Fascinating as all this might be to Erlandson's gastroenterologist, as his reader I'm not just uninterested but left wondering at the poverty of a mind that goes on and on about such things. Oh, also, he lets us in on ejaculating on some woman's stomach and giving another woman (the same woman?) three orgasms in one morning "by accident" (45). Yeah, I don't get that last one either.

The more interesting parts of Letters to Kurt are just uncomfortable. He trashes Courtney Love almost obsessively. She's too easy a target and the things he says seem more in place in a Kitty Kelley biography. Some of his musings on Kurt are interesting, many unintelligible. Once he verges on beautiful: "I found a picture of you back when your saddest days were the happy days of my life" (122).

Unfortunately much of the rest of the book is written like this: "My definite chief aim in life is to give a lecture at Harvard on the female anatomy as it relates to the benefits of adding nicotine to ice cream" (33).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By kika on June 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book reads, no smears, like a slice of the most juicy, self-analytical dear diary that Jung himself would blush at. It is intensely private look into the mind of a musician-cum-writer, who used to be in one of the most well known "grunge" bands of the 90's, the band HOLE. Erlandson's side of the story has always been quiet, but any of those who kept up with any of the press about the time, know that he was in the eye of the heroin chic hurricane; often portrayed as the shy, quiet one, a silent observer of sorts, maybe having to do with his Buddhist background or maybe it's just his personality. Either way it served him in terms of how well he conveyed rather saliently what it smelled like to be there, to be the one conjured in memory. As the writer dances ambiguously through time, we as the reader don't know when he is speaking of Courtney Love or Kurt Cobain, if it is in present day, but it doesn't really matter, since the syntax is so lyrically produced. Your eyes seem to hear the song that he is writing. He has stated that he is heavily influenced by John Berryman and Jim Harrison...to quote a line from Berryman,

"He knows:
he went over everyone, & nobody's missing.
Often he reckons, in the dawn, them up.
Nobody is ever missing."

It sums up the thematic of the 90s, nobodies making music about nothing about something about nothing that meant everything.

I dug the book, it's akin to a piece of literary art, it's not a tell-all, it's not a "lemme read this to the kids". It is singular and sincere, all signs of a good read to me, worth the purchase indeed.Letters to Kurt
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dollscares on April 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Eric's prose makes me think. It makes me "kill my idols" but also reincarnate them into human beings. I highly recommend this to any Hole fan, Nirvana fan, or anyone young person like myself who got stuck with boomer parents and tends to romanticize gen x's alt nation without looking at its context. It's so refreshing to get to hear Eric's side of things without the media filter or glitz. Not living inside Eric's head, some of the metaphors don't make sense to me but they clearly show a stream of consciousness.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. T. Wilson on April 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm curious about the lives of others. It doesn't have to be a Kurt Cobain, it could be the Cambodian immigrant working at the donut shop down the street. I want to know how other people put their lives together and - in some cases - take them apart. Erlandson's book is simply a sweet stew of his thoughts and feelings at the time and very specifically toward Kurt Cobain. Unfortunately, it's indecipherable as any sort of information real or imagined. Would've been good to know in plain terms what Erlandson's life was like and how he saw the others around him, but I'm guessing he'll get around to that book at another time. At least, I hope so.
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