Dylan Chronicles: Vol 1 (Bob Dylan Chronicles)

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9780743228152: Dylan Chronicles: Vol 1 (Bob Dylan Chronicles)

WINNER OF THE NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE
The celebrated first memoir from arguably the most influential singer-songwriter in the country, Bob Dylan.
"I'd come from a long ways off and had started a long ways down. But now destiny was about to manifest itself. I felt like it was looking right at me and nobody else."
So writes Bob Dylan in Chronicles: Volume One, his remarkable book exploring critical junctures in his life and career. Through Dylan's eyes and open mind, we see Greenwich Village, circa 1961, when he first arrives in Manhattan. Dylan's New York is a magical city of possibilities--smoky, nightlong parties; literary awakenings; transient loves and unbreakable friendships. Elegiac observations are punctuated by jabs of memories, penetrating and tough. With the book's side trips to New Orleans, Woodstock, Minnesota, and points west, Chronicles: Volume One is an intimate and intensely personal recollection of extraordinary times.
By turns revealing, poetical, passionate, and witty, Chronicles: Volume One is a mesmerizing window on Bob Dylan's thoughts and influences. Dylan's voice is distinctively American: generous of spirit, engaged, fanciful, and rhythmic. Utilizing his unparalleled gifts of storytelling and the exquisite expressiveness that are the hallmarks of his music, Bob Dylan turns Chronicles: Volume One into a poignant reflection on life, and the people and places that helped shape the man and the art.

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Review:

As the first volume of Chronicles, Bob Dylan’s long-anticipated autobiography, finally appears, we are given a forcible reminder how it has never been easy to be a Dylan admirer. How could the fiercely anti-establishment composer of With God on Our Side embrace (in turn) orthodox Judaism, then fundamentalist Christianity – two religions absolutely antithetical to his celebration of the unfettered human spirit ? How could the demigod of folk (and disciple of Woody Guthrie) make his controversial move into electric rock? How could this man of the streets become the arch capitalist? If no answers to these questions are to be found within the pages of Chronicles, there is nevertheless a whole host of pleasures to be encountered: literary felicities, brilliantly etched pen portraits of musical personalities he has encountered, the biting wit one might expect – not to mention a thousand surprises (how could a man hardly noted for the beauty of his vocal tones be such an admirer of composers whose work he could never tackle, such as Harold Arlen, composer of Over the Rainbow?.

Those who have loved Dylan’s lyrics (and that’s a good chunk of the academic world these days) will find the same coruscating prose here: idea and image fused into brilliant (if often opaque) word pictures, as Dylan takes us back to his early days on the New York folk scene, before he became the face of rebellion in music. There are insights into his reluctance to conform to the image his fans have of him (hence his highly unlikely conversion to religious dogmas?), and this inaugural volume of his autobiography takes the reader up to the moment of his first real celebrity. It’s a fascinating and infuriating read, of a piece with Dylan the Enigma. And perhaps answers to those unanswered questions will appear in succeeding volumes. --Barry Forshaw

Review:

'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

'Undoubtedly the best-received autobiography of the year'

THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Dylan's thoughtful, beautiful Chronicles has taken everyone by surprise. Who'd have thought that Dylan, whose life has been blighted and distorted by his fans, would write such a great book about loving - and devouring - art?'

Nick Hornby, THE GUARDIAN

'The greatest music book this year, of course, is the Bob Dylan Chronicles Volume One - a cultural event so notable I was genuinely bemused as to why it didn't make the 6 O'Clock news'

Caitlin Moran, THE TIMES

'In 1966, Dylan was the counter-culture's Jesus and crazed bums were clambering over his Woodstock roof posing a threat to his kids. When you put it like that (and in CHRONICLES, Dylan did) there's no wonder he was pissed off. Lucid and engaging, rendered in gorgeous prose, his first volume of reminiscences was full of such glimpses into its author's humanity, while Dylan's humbly expressed enthusiasms sent readers scurrying onto Amazon to order works by Thucydides and Roy Orbison. Volume 2 cannot come soon enough'

MOJO, BOOK OF THE YEAR

'I just can't put it down. I feel as though Dylan, my favourite artist, was talking to me personally. I loved the way he talked about how it felt when he first arrived in New York. I felt the same in London at the start of my career'

Leo Sayer, SUNDAY EXPRESS

'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'

THE 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 dryly aphoristic and 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

'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

'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'

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

"A remarkable achievement, and like Henry Miller's best personal writings, it is a story that opens up the times that it portrays, and then reveals the possibilities of the human spirit."
-- Mikal Gilmore, Rolling Stone

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