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Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain Paperback – August 21, 2002
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The Amazon Book Review
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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
Really well-written, thorough, entertaining read. I'm a few years too young to have been into the grunge scene, but living in Seatte Kurt's spectre is kind of all over the place. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
Charles Cross published this book in 2001 and has never amended or updated it. Much of what is in here has been publicly questioned or straight-up disproved. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
This is an awesome book. A MUST have for any Kurt fan!!!!!! Ms. AndronicusPublished 27 days ago by Amazon Customer
Long, mostly for fans, I wasn't a fan but found the star's history to be a good case for the damage divorce brings to children long after they are adults.Published 1 month ago by Tina Bailey
An eye opener. Brings a perspective unlike any other and humanize a legend. Though the horrifying ending is known, the road there wasn't as predictable as thought. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
One of the best books I've ever read. It's thoroughly researched and extremely well written. Captivating from start to finish.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Very intense. Great author. Loved it. I am glad I bought it because I'll read it again.Published 1 month ago by SarahnDylan