Mark W, January 5, 2010 (view all comments by Mark W)
Fascinating and illuminating. Dylan reveals much about his songwriting, etc. in his recollections, but certainly doesn't give away too much. Waiting patiently for Volume 2...
phaedi, January 2, 2010 (view all comments by phaedi)
Bob Dylan's Chronicles is my favorite book of the decade. Written by the legend himself, the book's unique style describing a unique period of history makes for a highly entertaining read.
Chris Cook, January 2, 2010 (view all comments by Chris Cook)
Superb writing. Ranks in talent with his best work. Even if he doesn't touch on what you "want" (ex. Oh Mercy instead of Blonde On Blonde or Blood On The Tracks or what have you) he writes what you need... or at least can totally lose yourself into and be transported by.
lukas, January 18, 2008 (view all comments by lukas)
So much ink has been spilled over Dylan and so many people have their favorite versions of Dylan, that you can't really blame the man himself for waiting until a few years ago to write his autobiography. Autobiography is really not the best word for this though, as it doesn't always move chronologically and is as much impressionistic as factual. Dylan's prose is lucid and observant, as he takes in the burdgeoning folk scene, the political turmoil of the 60s, the pop culture of the time, and his own artistic evolution. It's always interesting, but it doesn't make him any less of an enigmatic figure. Much more entertaining and thoughtful than the egregriously praised "I'm Not There."
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Simon & Schuster -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"After a career of principled coyness, Dylan takes pains to outline the growth of his artistic conscience in this superb memoir. Writing in a language of cosmic hokum and street-smart phrasing, he lingers not on moments of success and celebrity, but on the crises of his intellectual development. He reconstructs, for example, an early moment in New York when he realized 'that I would have to start believing in possibilities that I wouldn't have allowed before, that I had been closing my creativity down to a very narrow, controllable scale...that things had become too familiar and I might have to disorient myself.' And he recounts how, in that search for larger reach, he actually went to the public library's microfilm archives to learn the rhetoric of Civil War newspapers. Skipping the years of his greatest records, or perhaps saving those years for the second volume of his chronicle, Dylan recalls the times when he was sick of his public persona and made more lackluster albums like 'Self-Portrait' and 'New Morning.' He then skips again to his comeback work with producer Daniel Lanois in the late 1980s. Dylan emphasizes that he was 'indifferent to wealth and love,' and readers looking for private revelations will be disappointed. But others will prize the display of musical integrity and seriousness that is evident in his minutia-filled accounts of his influences in folk and blues. Ultimately, this book will stand as a record of a young man's self-education, as contagious in its frank excitement as the letters of John Keats and as sincere in its ramble as Jack Kerouac's On the Road, to which Dylan frequently refers. A person of Dylan's stature could have gotten away with far less; that he has been so thoughtful in the creation of this book is a measure of his talents, and a gift to his fans." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day"
by Charles Taylor, Salon.com,
"What may throw some readers about Chronicles is how modest and straightforward it is. Neither a hallucination, like Dylan's Tarantula, nor a coffee-table fan's scrapbook (there are no photos), Chronicles starts in without any preamble, any fuss....[W]hat distinguishes Chronicles is what has distinguished — and upset people throughout — most of Dylan's career: the inconvenience of his genius." (read the entire Salon.com review)
by Janet Maslin, The New York Times,
"Gone is the druggy logorrhea of his 1966 novel, Tarantula, as Mr. Dylan...looks back on his life. Yet Chronicles is hardly tame. It is lucid without being linear, swirling through time without losing its strong storytelling thread."
by Richard Harrington, The Washington Post,
"[L]ucid, cogent, coherent, crystal clear. You hear Dylan's inimitable voice, his cadence, his dry wit, twists of phrase, the rasp, rush and tumble of memories — all beautifully articulated."
by The Oregonian (Portland, OR),
"A key to understanding the most important figure in American cultural history. It took courage to write, to unlock a chest of secrets and set them free, but Dylan's always had plenty of that."
by Los Angeles Times,
"Its generally sprightly pace occasionally unwinds like an old pocket watch to accommodate slow, rambling scenes that make for some of the book's most compelling passages — and sometimes actually do hint at what it's like to be Bob Dylan."
by San Diego Union-Tribune,
"Chronicles must be taken on its own terms, enjoyed for what it is regardless of what one may have expected or wished it to be. There's a lot to enjoy. And it's a surprisingly honest and revealing autobiography, albeit an eccentric and unconventional one."
by Boston Globe,
"[A] fascinating, maddening time-travel ride....Chronicles affirms Dylan's idiosyncrasies and his mastery of the vernacular. As his best songs also show, he's a great reporter with a talent for vivid detail."
by Dallas-Ft. Worth Star Telegram,
"Surely no one really expected Bob Dylan to produce a typically linear autobiography, coherently taking readers step-by-step through his life and career....And it's obvious Dylan penned this book to confound loyal fans as much as inform them."
by Tom Carson, The New York Times Book Review,
"[T]he real literary achievement of Chronicles is the voice Dylan has devised for his youthful self, which is spellbinding in its hokum."
by Simon and Schuster,
The first installment of a three-volume memoir by one of the greatest musical legends of all time.
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