By Sylvie Simmons
It must be being enormously frustrating to write a biography about a man who already has been quite confessional and intimate in his own poems, novels and songs. I mean, what else is there to say? But Sylvie Simmons' biography of Leonard Cohen does tend to open some new ground. It is detailed, precise, and abundant in personal revelations from both friends of Cohen's and Cohen himself. I like the way the author quote portions of her interview with Cohen in italics making a easy transition from biography to personal reflection. Ms Simmons does a good job in describing and interpreting many of Cohen poems and songs and does an equally good job in placing them in the context of the poet/songwriter's coming of age and development. My only gripe is that the book sometimes become more of a "and then he slept with" than a "and then he wrote". But some will like the gossipy parts, I guess. Yet most of the time I learned a lot about this important figure in modern culture. I can also attest that the reading of this biography goes down well with a glass of Cabernet and Leonard Cohen songs being endlessly cycled on Grooveshark.
Background CD: Leonard Cohen - I'm Your Man