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Homeward Bound: The Life of Paul Simon Paperback – October 24, 2017
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"Definitive... Simon’s personal life, drug problems and marriages are intimately detailed, and figures from Bob Dylan to Woody Allen make cameos…Carlin has gone deeper than anyone yet.” ―Rolling Stone
"Respectful, insightful ― and so very damning." ―New York Daily News
“Touching…pure pleasure” –People, book of the week
"You can almost hear the melodic anthems Simon created through Carlin's exhaustively researched, deeply-felt prose." ―Harper's Bazaar
"[T]horoughly researched...Homeward Bound reveals many sides of a complicated, ambitious, insecure figure."―New York Times Book Review
"The alchemy of pop stardom is a curious process, and few stories are as unlikely and as absorbing as that of the Jewish kid from Queens turned folk superstar. Fresh off 2012’s “Bruce,” his take on another quintessentially American subject, Carlin provides a brisk and engaging overview of Simon’s career and protean musical output…a good story, and Carlin tells it well…crisp and well-paced…lucid and evocative…Carlin is admirably even-handed when faced with Simon’s sometimes acrid personality.”―The Washington Post
“Carlin burrows into Simon’s legacy with a journalistic sense of duty. Drawing on vast research and original interviews...Carlin did his homework…He traces Simon’s Jewish lineage back to Austria, where his grandfather, also named Paul, was born and raised before emigrating to the United States and becoming a successful tailor. He examines Simon’s deep-seated insecurities, including his lifelong hang-up about his height and a contentious relationship with his father....Carlin is also fearless in his depictions of Simon’s less savory qualities, especially accusations that he has a habit of ripping off ideas from other artists…[his] prose is notably scintillating.”―The Boston Globe
"You hold in your hands a book just as epic and fine as "Sound of Silence" or "American Tune." Peter Carlin has gotten it all down, the partnerships, the comedy, the heartbreak and triumph of Paul Simon, who might well be the one who lasts. And it's not just the words―it's the music, that is, the sharp clarity of Carlin's writing that keeps the pages flying. The great gift of Homeward Bound is to let you hear Paul Simon's great catalog of tunes all over again, as if for the first time."
―Rich Cohen, New York Times bestselling author of The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones
"The world of pop music has paraded its own mythologies for decades, insisting that art and business can be separated, that authenticity is the condition of the greats, that politics is as easy as a statement made from a stage. But the truths are different: art and commerce are regularly in unflattering bedroom situations, the greats spend much of their time adjusting masks, and politics only begins with a protest song. The case of Paul Simon, presented here by Peter Ames Carlin with an admirably even tone and unabashed skill, pushes these truths out front. Homeward Bound is a book you should read if the ruckus you hear behind those soaring melodies is of interest, as it should be."
―Warren Zanes, New York Times bestselling author of Petty
“While fans wait for Simon’s own story of his life, this insightful, well-researched work from Carlin (who penned an acclaimed Springsteen bio before Bruce did) will certainly do.” ―New York Post
"First Major Paul Simon Biography Is a Real Whopper: This compelling period in Simon’s career is expertly detailed – along with the rest of his life, musical and otherwise ― in Peter Ames Carlin’s exceedingly well-written book. And while Paul Simon has been the subject of several, more slender bios, this is incredibly the first actual detailed tome, with the author conducting in-depth research and more than 100 original interviews." ―Houston Press
"Carlin achieves a satisfying balance across every decade of Simon’s life.Carlin also diagrams his subject’s personality in a way that fully informs and illuminates the music. Be advised: You’ll want to have Simon’s recordings on hand as you read Carlin’s engrossing account of how they got made―and with the road map he provides, you’re bound to hear something you never noticed before."
“[A] nuanced, fascinating portrait…Carlin expertly tracks Simon's professional career, from the earliest days with Garfunkel when they were finding their footing as performers, through the climax of their career as a band with their 1970 album ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water,’ to Simon's solo artistic peak with the 1986 release of ‘Graceland.’ Simon's music career defies easy categorization―much as his relationship with Garfunkel does―but in Carlin's portrayal, his legacy as an innovative songwriter and musician is undeniable. An absorbing and layered study of ‘one of the most influential voices in Western popular culture.’” ―Kirkus Reviews
"Throughout this highly readable biography Carlin depicts an artist who is tough, smart, uncompromising, audacious, and incredibly talented." ―Booklist
"In Homeward Bound, biographer Peter Ames Carlin (who also published a best-selling 2012 bio of Bruce Springsteen) brings the shrewd eye of a reporter, as well as the enthusiasm of a lifelong fan, to his scrutiny of Simon...meticulously reported, often startlingly perceptive portrait...In this tough but compassionate examination of his life, his fans will come to understand Paul Simon a little better."―Dallas Morning News
“The best Bruce Springsteen biographer yet takes on another iconoclastic singer-songwriter." ―Oakland Press
"[Homeward Bound] offers a sweeping panorama of the singer-songwriter’s life story...favoring a psychological approach to understanding its subject’s lifelong conflicts, ... [it] provide[s] a picture of a man struggling with the binary tensions of post-immigrant, postwar Jewish life in America."
“Carlin excels at telling a rattling good story, and his book is full of plenty of them. After reading Homeward Bound, you might dislike Simon or you might love him even more than you’ve ever loved him. No matter, you’ll certainly discover the forces which drive him and his songwriting, and you’ll gain a new appreciation for his songwriting genius… Even-handed and absorbing, Carlin’s Homeward Bound introduces us to a musician whose heart is restless until it rests in a song.” ―No Depression
About the Author
Peter Ames Carlin is a writer and the author of several books, including Bruce, a biography of Bruce Springsteen published in October, 2012. Carlin has also been a free-lance journalist, a senior writer at People in New York City, and a television columnist and feature writer at The Oregonian in Portland. A regular speaker on music, art and popular culture, Carlin lives in Portland, Ore., with his wife and three children.
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Top customer reviews
The author writes a "down the middle" type of book. He's not really an adoring fan, and he's not a hater either.
This book exposes a lot of warts. When it comes to disgruntled collaborators and questionable deals throughout the years, he airs it out.
What you see in the pages of "Homeward Bound" is a very talented musician that has his share of quirks and insecurities. Paul Simon is after all human. I think the book is better for not ignoring the controversial topics, and there are quite a few of them. What struck me is the relationship between Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. They have been friends and enemies over the years, but still, the songs they did together have left a mark decades later. They were beyond great in their heyday! As a solo artist Paul Simon has been a pioneer incorporating various cultural music into his albums.
Paul Simon's childhood was interesting also.
What I like the most about the book is the background on the songs. The origination and circumstances make for interesting reading.
It's an interesting book and worth reading.
Though readers of my reviews will know that I rarely read biographies, I’ve found myself reading more of them lately. Perhaps it’s a midlife biography crisis of some sort, but I’ve enjoyed learning more about some of my artistic heroes. I knew something of Simon—his relationships with Carrie Fisher and Edie Brickell (of whom I am also a fan), his appearances on SNL—but it was nice to have a book that pulls the various strands together that I’ve picked up over the years.
The story Mr. Carlin tells is fairly straightforward. He begins at the beginning and takes us to the present day without too many detours or analysis. I particularly enjoyed reading about his Queens youth and his early relationship with Art. The intensity of their work towards musical success even at such a young age is emblematic of what would follow.
Of course, there is always the dictum that you don’t want to meet your heroes and this book, though not particularly critical, does not cover Simon’s flaws. It is difficult to pronounce his ruthlessness for success a flaw; however, there is also a trend of deception in his dealings with people that is hard to ignore. And yet, tendencies towards ruthlessness and deception as well as selfishness in personal relationships are often part of what it takes to be a great success.
Fortunately, I’ve always been able to separate my feelings about a person from my appreciation of his/her art. Regardless of the steel that it took to write and record many of his songs, there is no doubt that the majority of them are brilliant. His work has become part of the American songbook and it is interesting to see how it came about. Mr. Carlin does a nice job in telling Simon’s story.