Chronicles Volume 1 (Anglais) Broché – 19 septembre 2005
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Revue de presse
David Sexton, Evening Standard 4/10
'A startling event... [Chronicles] shows Dylan's extraordinary command of language, married in the book to an uncanny recall of events and a masterly narrative sensibility'
'Dylan's writing never loses its richness, its sense of crystalline observation. He's unexpectedly frank about his own shortcomings - but not too frank. Throughout, a careful balance has been struck between elusiveness and revelation. Readers hoping to gain admittance to Dylan's inner sanctum may be surprised by how far in they are allowed to venture'
John Preston, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
'Every line of CHRONICLES reverberates with the marrow-shaking snarl of the mesmerizing American voice that first signed up with Columbia records in New York City in 1961 . . . Then you realise why Dylan will always be part of the unofficial soundtrack of our lives. CHRONICLES takes its place next to ON THE ROAD and Guthrie's BOUND FOR GLORY as an essential record of an American artist's manifest destiny'
Robert McCrum, OBSERVER
'A book which measures up to -- and in many respects surpasses -- the highest hopes anyone could have had of it . . . The narrator of CHRONICLES VOLUME ONE turns out to be a superbly candid and engaging character, with a sharp descriptive eye . . . and a writing style pitched somewhere between Kurt Vonnegut at his most drily aphoristic ad a grown up Holden Caulfied . . . If you've always wondered how this man transformed the supposedly antique certainties of folk music into the soundtrack to the most self-consciously forward looking of decades, this book has the answer . . . Dylan's willingness . . . to be a man out of time . . . combined with a rare insight into the moment he was in . . . The power of that combination echoes down through the decades as clearly in these pages as in any song you might care to mention'
Ben Thompson, INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
'Riveting' INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
'An extremely good book indeed, actually a great one. If you are not weeping with gratitude by the end, then frankly, the age has passed you by . . . I cannot remember a book that has made me happier than this one'
Bryan Appleyard, SUNDAY TIMES
'This book is so exciting…Chronicles offers much more than a glimpse behind the mask. And it's a jolly good read. Well done, Bob'
Donovan, Observer Music Monthly 17/10
'With this rich intermittently preposterous, often tender work, Bob Dylan has delivered more than many of us dared hope for'
Mike Marqusee, GUARDIAN
'Surprisingly fresh and un-whiney, with all the added enjoyment of watching an iconoclast turning on his own icon'
Craig Brown, MAIL ON SUNDAY
‘There are enough bizarre and entertaining snippets of information sprinkled throughout to fascinate the most jaded Dylan obsessive…An unexpectedly easy and entertaining read'
'Charming . . . Enthralling . . . One hears a lovely shyness in Dylan's acknowledging the unlikely distance he has travelled . . . It's the kind of moment that renders this a wholly engrossing and unaccountably touching memoir' Anthony Quinn, DAILY TELEGRAPH
'There is something on every page, in every paragraph, that demands attention… In rock and roll terms, this book is like discovering the lost diaries of Shakespeare. It may be the most extraordinarily intimate autobiography by a 20th-century legend'
Daily Telegraph 7/10
'This book is one of the most important in its genre, painting a colourful picture of a phenomenal singer and songwriter'
The Sun 8/10
'Entertaining and surprisingly deprecating... The book's structure is elegant...Chronicles is tautly written, vividly cinematic, and funny... a courageous little book'
Financial Times 8/10
'This absorbing read abandons the dry autobiography of fact for a more organic approach to personal history'
'It is a very good book . . . the quality of the prose is a delightful surprise. The book has an intense and intimate quality. It is alive with the sort of detail that guarantees authenticity. And it possesses a prose voice that is both compelling and unmistakably Dylan. At its very best, it reads like a novel . . . when he recalls his teenage passions he is beyond eloquent . . . What is startling about the book is a sense of a promise delivered . . . For Dylan obsessives, indeed, there are a ton of nuggets . . . he himself is luminous on the page . . . at its heart is a meditation on art, and a profound one' Ian Bell, SUNDAY HERALD
'According to our local bookseller, the first volume of Bob Dylan's memoirs, Chronicles, is "walking off the shelves"'
Sunday Herald 17/10
'If you want a magisterial portrait of the invention of a great artist, you will be mesmerised . . . a gorgeous, lyrical account of his arrival in snowbound New York . . .This memoir, like his songs, is an indispensable map to the light and darkness of our age'
'This book recaptures its author's first stirrings of creativity with amazing urgency . . . CHRONICLES is hardly tame. It is lucid without being linear, swirling through time without losing its strong storytelling thread' Janet Maslin, THE SCOTSMAN
'A series of insightful, surprising and sometimes funny observations . . . He peers out of this wonderful, flawed, picturesquely rambling account as a shy, taciturn man, fuelled by four-star ambition' Hugh MacDonald, THE HERALD (GLASGOW)
'Straight-forward revelation, though gratifying, would go against the grain, and sure enough he gives us something fierce and strange' METRO LONDON
'This book should, by the end, have you weeping with gratitude' SUNDAY TIMES CULTURE
'All of which makes CHRONICLES: VOLUME ONE a double delight: besides being a treasure trove for Dylan fans, it is also sparklingly well-written . . . the shock and the joy of CHRONICLES lie in its unexpected accessibility and the relish its author brings to deflating his mythical status . . . As you would expect from such a respected wordsmith, Dylan also offers up a multitude of striking images . . . There is a directness and candour to CHRONICLES that suggests the absence of a ghost at this feast . . . CHRONICLES is warmly readable, offering a series of vignettes rewarding even for those who haven't hung on the man's every utterance for the past five decades. Slowly and deftly, CHRONICLES peels away some of the enigma that still swirls around Bob Dylan, and leaves you hungrier than ever for Volume Two.' Patrick Humphries, SUNDAY EXPRESS
'The first volume of CHRONICLES certainly rewards those persuaded by such fragments that, against all the odds, Dylan might turn out to be his own most illuminating critic and biographer . . . 80,000 words of taut, atmospheric prose encompassing six decades of life and work and demonstrating a sure grasp of what he did, why he did it and how he felt while it was being done . . . moving . . . Dylan writes mostly with a firmness and a lean, striding rythmn that make the words sing in the ear . . . a stream of surprises . . . CHRONICLES is good enough to bring even the most disillusioned stray back into the fold' Richard Williams, TLS
'A humble book . . . it demystifies the man . . . a pleasure to read' THE ECONOMIST
'[Dylan] has decided to tell his story, and it is as riveting, poetic, poignant and funny as some of his best songs . . . It sizzles with biting one-liners and radiates honesty' Shusha Guppy, DAILY MAIL
'Chronicles: Volume One by Bob Dylan. It is the best of books, it is the worst of books' ECONOMIST
'Bob Dylan's Chronicles: Volume One are written in the way he talks, the way he sings: he tells it his way, noth the way of the world. And Lyrics 1962 - 2001 is a hnadsome new edition of the lines'
'Bob Dylan's Chronicles: Volume One was, in an absolute sense, a book of the year. Lucid and witty at first reading, it deepens in the imagination'
'Bob Dylan's Chronicles: Volume One is a wonderfully evocative patchwork affair that hops round key moments in his career from early 1960's Greenwich Village to late 1980s New Orleans. It's vivid, romantic and far more revealing than anyone dared hope'
Griff Rhys Jones
'Brilliant, fascinating and gobbled up in one sitting, but I didn't find Bob Dylan's authobiography Chronicles: Volume One half as straightforward as everybody else seemed to. At last, the truth? Up to a point. His songs are crazy with candour and anger and burning aggression - "You're an idiot, babe!" - but the book? Dylan masterfully hides behind that well-known, late-middle-aged celebrity trait: "It's just a job, man." He was, so it would seem, merely a humble balladeer (rather like Bobby Darin, apparently) trying to make it in Tin-Pan Alley. It's folksy story-weaving, as finely wrought as any of the faux 1860s ballads of genius, but it's still the book of the year for me'
'Bob Dylan's Chronicles: Volume One…smart, energetic, artfully discursive…exceptionally good'
'How Bob Dylan manages to be both lucid about his work and to write so beautifully about it at the same time is the glory of his book, Chronicles: Volume One. Like the best of his songs, the writing goes right through you. His New York in the Sixties has the black-and-white luminosity of a Cassavetes film. Dylan writes like he sings like he lives'
'Bob Dylan's writing voice in Chronicles: Volume One is almost as magnificent as his singing voice'
The Book No One Thought Would Ever See The Light Of Day
'Chronicles by Bob Dylan. In which Dylan diverges without divulging (much) and riffs without revealing (all). But what did anyone expect? The first of three mooted volumes, Chrnoic
Présentation de l'éditeur
Publication of CHRONICLES Volume I is a publishing and cultural event of the highest magnitude.
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Other memoirs to look for: Nightmares Echo by Katlyn Stewart and A Paper Life by Tatum O'Neil.
Apres c'est un peu moins interessant.
Il y a pas de grosses infos qui n'etaient pas deja connues.
J'aurais aimé qu'il en dise plus sur son accident de moto.
A conseiller qu'aux fans.
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My dim recollection is that the sophomoric student article painted Dylan as an inscrutable eccentric trickster, deep yet elusive.
That's pretty much the general impression I've had of Dylan since I first heard him around 1964 or '65. And, of course, I thought of him as the conscience and voice of my generation.
Well, it turns out that he's neither, as least not in the way most of us thought.
Dylan, in his own words, comes across as a regular guy who just wanted to do his job and go home to his family without being hassled by every freak and geek who imagined him to be the new Messiah.
In a recent radio interview on NPR - the first he's given in my memory - he's asked if he ever thinks about walking away from music.
"Every day," is his comeback.
The book reveals a devoted family man who has spent much of his life plugging away at his craft and trying to shield himself and his loved ones from the glare of offstage attention.
The further I went in the book, the most shared impressions and cultural perceptions I discovered. I became a grandfather earlier this year and have been wrestling with the idea and its implications of advancing age and life changes. I feel a whole lot better about it now that I know Dylan owns a "World's Greatest Grandpa" bumper sticker.
Oddly enough, many of us thought of him as the voice of our generation while at the same time seeing him as detached and set apart from the rest of us.
It turns out that he's much more one of us than we realized and it's probably more accurate to think of him as the voice of every generation, whether they know it or not.
This is an invaluable book because it demystifies Dylan and blows away all of that "mad genius" stuff that has swirled around him for 40 years.
My son, who owns a recording studio, is getting this book for his birthday this year for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the chapter on working with producer Daniel Lanois in New Orleans.
I find maybe two books a year that I just can't put down. This is one of those books.
First, it's not an autobiography in the usual sense of the word. Sure, Bob is writing about himself and what he's done, but time flows freely forward and back and the subject changes (sometimes radically) every few paragraphs. He doesn't indulge in much self-justification, he doesn't try to chart a distinct arc of personal development, and it's not rare for him to start down a detour that screams for more exploration and then to turn the bus around. The comparison to X-Ray, the autobiography of Ray Davies of the Kinks, isn't entirely justified -- I don't think Dylan fictionalized much -- but Chronicles is closer in spirit to that than to more conventional rock autobiographies.
Second, Dylan lets you into his mind but he doesn't much open his heart. Suze Rotolo is the subject of some lyrical reminiscence, for instance, but their relationship is kept very abstract -- maybe he's protecting her privacy, I don't know. He talks about his love for his wife and kids at length in the "New Morning" chapter, but they never even show up as characters! His second (?) wife does show up in the "Oh Mercy" chapter, but she remains nameless and faceless. The only emotions Bob really describes are awe for his idols in his early days and frustration and loathing for himself in the "Oh Mercy" period.
Third, and finally, don't overestimate how much ground it covers. At 293 pages, the book is short; the font and the large amount of whitespace padding make 293 pages sound longer than it is. I read the book in just about five hours of reading, and much of that time my pace was leisurely. The content is pretty rigidly circumscribed, too: the first, second, and last chapters cover his early life and career, in Minnesota and in New York (1949-62); the third and fourth his "New Morning" (1969-70) and "Oh Mercy" (1988-89) periods, respectively. There's only a handful of anecdotes that fall outside those ranges.
One brief, nitpicky comment before I praise the book: Dylan needed a better proofreader than he got. I know he missed at least one deadline with the manuscript and probably more, and so publication was likely something of a rush-job, but he has a tendency to use words whose meanings elude him ("incredulously" instead of "incredibly" -- facts don't tend to be credulous), and a sharp set of eyes should have caught them in a once-over. The grammar, on the other hand, is better than some have given him credit for. On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if awe of the man stood in the way of proper proofing.
Anyhow, my three corrections to misconceptions could be taken as negatives. If it's got these problems, you might say, why is it worth five stars? My answer to that is that the man has a way with words, and just 'cause he won't be tamed by chronology & word choice & all that jazz doesn't mean that his recollections aren't delightful.
The book doesn't resemble a chronological biography so much as a Jim Jarmusch movie, a collection of short anecdotes tied together with a declarative sentence here or an interrogatory paragraph there. Dylan, who's rapidly turning into everybody's favorite dubious grandpa, full of funny stories and odd ways of looking at the world, sheds light on his influences, his contemporaries, and his colleagues that are alternately revealing, funny, incisive, and patronizing, but always entertaining. The anecdotal approach he's chosen couldn't be better suited to his personality or even his view of life (after all, Louie the King, Georgia Sam, and God shared the same song). For sheer entertainment value, Volume One of Chronicles slays the rest of the Dylan bookshelf.
Postscript: there's a six-song companion CD available for free from some retailers with two unreleased songs ("The Cuckoo" from the Gaslight and the original demo of "Dignity") and four released tracks from "New Morning" and "Oh Mercy" ("New Morning", "Father of Night", "Man in the Long Black Coat", and "Political World"). Keep your eyes out.
Since Bob Dylan published Tarantula in 1966 his autobiography has been anticipated with some trepidation. Would it be as unreadable? Would it lay to rest the misinformation spread about him and by himself. Well, it is certainly readable, and it is in fact beautifully written in a style that flows and rolls with ease. This is certainly not a book of self-analysis, nor self reflection. It is a book of reminiscences and astute observations and characterisations of people and places, and is particularly engaging in conveying the vibrancy of Greenwich Village in the early 1960s. The style is reminiscent of a detective novel, using the typical tricks of the genre, and of film, in using flash-backs and leaps forward, as he chronicles his way through the early years of fulfilling what he believed to be his destiny. He describes listening to Ricky Nelson while waiting to be called to sing at Café Wha, and then relates how ten years later Nelson was booed off the stage for changing direction. Nelson was a man with whom he could empathise, having gone through the experience many times himself.
This is not a history. Bob Dylan is born on page 29, and after gliding through various episodes, including signing for John Hammond at Columbia records, he returns to describe his home town of Hibbing Minnisota on page 229. In between there is a sudden leap to 1987 when he is recuperating from a hand injury, and artistically burnt-out. He begins by describing a meeting with Lou Levy, the music publisher at Leeds Music, just after arriving in Greenwich Village and ends the book by telling how Al Grossman, his manager, gave him $1000 to buy himself out of the deal shortly after.
His character sketches of the people he knew are precise and incisive, such as of Tiny Tim, later famous for his hit, sang in a falsetto voice accompanied by a ukulele, `Tip-toe Through the Tulips',. In describing Bob Neuwirth, who became a close friend, Dylan writes, in Raymond Chandler style: `Right from the start you could tell that Neuwirth had a taste for provocation and that nothing was going to restrict his freedom. He was in a mad revolt against something. You had to brace yourself when you talked to him.' Neuwirth appears in the Dylan Film `Don't Look Back', and these character traits are evident in his treatment of Joan Baez.
There is a good deal of self justification in the book. Dylan tries to put the record straight on a few mythologies that have surrounded him. He treats in a cursory manner his well known predilection to fabricate stories about his own background. He explains how when confronted with Billy James the publicity man for Columbia Records, he felt intimidated by his Ivy League Harvard presence, telling him that he was from Illinois, worked on construction in Detroit, had no family, and had rode into New York on a freight train. He doesn't explain why he lied about his past to his friends, nor does he try to analyse how hurt his parent were at being disowned by him. He is quite bitter in remembering how Joan Baez criticised him for abandoning the folk movement. He vehemently denies having been a spokesman for a generation, but this is disingenuous. He didn't feel comfortable with the responsibility of being hailed as a spokesman, but there is no getting away from the fact that he consciously wrote songs, such as `Bowing in the Wind', Playboys and Playgirls', and `The Times They are A' Changin' in order to appeal the social conscience of his generation. After Kennedy's assassination he felt distinctively vulnerable, and did not himself want to become a target. He has on many occasions denied that he took his name from Dylan Thomas, and once famously said that `I have done more for Dylan Thomas than he ever did for me'. In this book he talks about the process of choosing a stage name. He had thought of calling himself Robert Allyn, changing the e in his own name to a y. At about the same time he read some Dylan Thomas, and imagined that Dylan must have changed his name from Dillon to Dylan. Bobby Dylan, he thought, was too much like Bobby Darin, and anyway there were too many Bobbies making records. He settled on Bob Dylan, because it sounded right, not because he had any particular liking for the poetry. In fact, in an interview in Robert Shelton's archives, Dylan explicitly say that he disliked Dylan Thomas' flowery and affected style.
Fans who were won over to Bob Dylan by the strength of his lyrics will be disappointed that he talks only of the process of writing songs, but not of their content. He makes no attempt to explain their meaning, nor to analyse their impact. This is not surprising given that when asked about the meaning of his lyrics he always got irritated and dismissed the questions with such curt answers as `I don't know, man'.
The book is not an act of self-disclosure, the mask is not taken from the face, and there is very little sense of the emotional life of the author. He says very little about intimate relations, except to express his desire to protect his wife and family from the gaze of publicity, and to complain of the constant invasion of privacy. He also says very little about his relationship with Joan Baez, or St, Joan as she was pejoratively known.
Bob Dylan's Chronicles are well worth the wait, and while they do not allow the reader too great an insight into the inner life of the artist, they reveal a great deal about his psychology, and how he is still prepared to be economical with the truth on many issue. In fact, he reveals a great deal about his manner of writing when he talks of himself and Bono, of U2. He says that they are very alike in that `We can strengthen any argument by expanding on something either real or not real' (p.175).
Aside from this, I did find the book intereseting and funny. I liked the flow of the language. I enjoyed reading his descriptions of things, how he saw them, and how he saw himself. You can learn a lot about people by listening to the way they talk and how they perceive themselves (whether it is an accurate perception or not).
Reviews were written saying that he seems like less of a genius and more human...duh...Hasn't Dylan been saying that for 4 decades? Now that some people have read his book, they finally believe it. Maybe the book does give more insight to the man than they thought!!
If you are looking for juicy gossip about Bob, this is not the book for you. I can't believe that people expected him to write about affairs he had, rude things he said, or whatever. Maybe this would have been better...Chronicles Vol 1: Bob Dylan's Failures. Unfortunately, people would have eaten it up like vultures because today's society thrives on sex and other's misfortunes. Who in their right mind is going to write a book telling total strangers all of their faults, failures, and personal problems during their lifetime? Would you?
Hey, if you are a Dylan fan, read the book. If you aren't, why did you buy it in the first place???
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