“I’M YOUR MAN: THE LIFE OF LEONARD COHEN” (The Melbourne Review – Australia)

For those not yet enamoured of Leonard Cohen, your time is up. Sylvie Simmons weaves this riveting personal history using numerous interviews – Cohen included – together with the settings of Montreal (first its leafy suburbs, then its poets), New York (the Chelsea Hotel and Warhol’s set), alongside myriad lovers and the trajectory of musical stardom. She then layers it with Cohen’s own literary and musical poeticism to produce a textured and enigmatic study.

Her subject is magnetic, self-exacting and abundant in conundrums: a committed Jew of rabbinic stock who loves Jesus and attains the title of Zen Buddhist monk; a poet cowed by his search for truth and beauty, and yet sure of his genius. But invariably it is to his offerings of the sublime, his ‘rags of light’, that we are drawn. As Simmons notes, Cohen has always been brilliant at the art of deflection, but it is in his art that notes of ambivalence, struggle and pleasure take form. And it is to his work, with its dark staggering grandeur, that we turn at the end of this wild ride.

by Tali Lavi for The Melbourne Review

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