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I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen Hardcover – September 18, 2012
The Amazon Book Review
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“A thoughtful celebration of the artist’s life...Simmons has deftly narrated Cohen’s evolution... In the end, this biography has the oddest effect: as soon as you finish reading it you feel an overwhelming impulse to go back and begin again, revisiting the story with what you’ve learned along the way.” (A.M. Homes, New York Times Book Review)
“A new gold standard of Cohen bios.” (Los Angeles Times)
“This is the bio Cohen has long deserved, and it makes every prior Cohen book practically unnecessary.” (Rolling Stone, 4 1/2 Stars)
“The book is a seductive tribute to a master seducer.” (The Onion A.V. Club)
“A deep, enlightening book. . . Simmons, a music journalist and short-story writer, knows how to research and write and keep a critical distance from Cohen, who opens up some but uses his usual weapons, politeness and self-deprecation, to maintain an air of mystery.” (The Oregonian (Portland))
“Leonard fought darkness through his work and... the light ultimately prevailed when he triumphantly toured the world for three years beginning in 2008... ‘You could hear the hairs stand up on people’s arms,’ writes Simmons of the hushed reverence of his audience. This book demands a similar reaction.” (MOJO Magazine, 5 Stars)
“This is a revelatory biography that investigates not just an artist’s life, but the life of his art.” (Shelf Awareness)
“In I’m Your Man, we see not only the life of one man who was transformed by words, but how we ourselves may be transformed by them.” (New York Jewish Week)
“Simmons’ rich, compelling and provocative book... is a star-studded but also frank account of how the music industry really works and, at the same time, a discerning portrait of one especially important musician.” (Jewish Journal Los Angeles)
“Simmons is a wonderful writer... the book informs like carefully researched non-fiction, but engages like enchanting fiction... Like listening to one of Cohen’s songs, this complex, beautiful biography requires you to think about it. This book will stay with you. It will change the way you hear Leonard Cohen.” (Paste Magazine)
“[A] vibrant and enthusiastic chronicle... Carefully weaving the threads of all of his songs and albums through the patterns of his life, Simmons craftily explores the themes that regularly mark Cohen’s work: desire, regret, suffering, love, hope, and hamming it up.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“In this elegantly crafted biography, Simmons captures the artist who, in spite of all his highs and lows, is still sharp at the edges, a wise old monk, a trouper offering up himself and his songs.” (BookPage)
“Exquisitely researched and elegantly written.” (Dallas Morning News)
“The success of Simmons’ book is the way it deftly integrates each facet in a unified portrait.” (San Jose Mercury News)
“Cohen is a complex man and Sylvie Simmons has captured every essence of it in her remarkable book. This is a deeply insightful portrait that is guaranteed to haunt the reader much like his “Suzanne” and “Bird on the Wire.” (The Tuscon Citizen)
“Compelling biography. . . A must for anyone interested in one of the most influential songwriters of our time.” (Booklist (starred review))
Top Customer Reviews
Cohen actively collaborated with Simmons in this impressive work. Typical of the ever so self-deprecating Cohen, he just wanted to make sure it was not a "hagiography," and it is not, and is all the stronger for it. It is a fitting tribute to him, and proved to be an essential read. There were so many missing pieces between the lyrics, and so much background for them, and Simmons provides much, but is content to leave some ambiguity on the table, just as Leonard would have.Read more ›
As it turned out, this was money very well spent, as "I'm Your Man" is an exhaustive biography of Cohen that is more concerned with his work than with his many love affairs. Along the way, it illuminates his songs and poetry by placing them in the context of his life -- which was more troubled that his public persona would suggest.
And of course, Sylvie Simmons does talk with the women who populate his songs (though the Suzanne of the song is not the Suzanne of his long-term relationship) as well as with the musicians who have helped him develop his work.
In the end, though, Cohen is not fully revealed, but I don't think that's Simmons' fault. He is a private man, despite the revealing nature of his work, and his intelligence and control of language allows him to deflect questions and control his image.
That quibble aside, any fan of Cohen will be happy with this work -- and long-time devoted followers such as me will find it one of those books they hope won't come to an end.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Enjoyable, insightful portrait of the enigmatic signer-songwriter. For an apparently authorized biography (several key people from Cohen's private and professional life evidently... Read morePublished 11 hours ago by James G.
Having been a fan of Leonard Cohen's since I was 16, am now 65, I thought I knew a lot about the man. This book gave me a different perspective on him and I found it fascinating. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Lynn Marie Nugent
last week I took Ms. Simmons "I'm your man" out on the road with me for a second read. Here are my thoughts after that pass. Read morePublished 8 days ago by john e reynolds
Leonard Cohen is my hero, my favorite singer, my favorite poet, my favorite person. I hang on his every word. This book does him justice.Published 2 months ago by AD
I'm a member of the 1970s generation of students which spent as much time listening to Leonard Cohen's penetrating lyrics as to studying so when I spotted this in a second-hand... Read morePublished 2 months ago by John Fitzpatrick
Truly one of the greatest music books ever written. Once you start reading this book, you won't be able to put it down til the last page.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Get all the background and details of the man and the artist in context of his time's and the music scene he was so influentially a part of.Published 4 months ago by Ken B