Leonard Cohen On a wire

Philippe Girard, 1971-

Book - 2021

"Bio-comic of Leonard Cohen's life. Leonard Cohen opens in Los Angeles on the last night of the man's life in 2016. Alone in his final hours, the beloved writer and musician ponders his existence in a series of flashbacks that reveal the ups and downs of a storied career. A young Cohen traded in the promise of steady employment in his family's upscale Montreal garment business for the unlikely path of a literary poet. His life took another sharp turn when, already in his 30s,... he recorded his first album to widespread international acclaim. Along the way he encountered a who's who of musical luminaries, including Lou Reed, Nico, Janis Joplin, and Joni Mitchell. And then there's Phil Spector, the notorious music impresario who held a gun to Cohen's head during a coke-fueled, all-night-long recording session."--

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Subjects
Genres
Graphic novels
Biographies
Published
Montréal, Québec : Drawn & Quarterly 2021.
Language
English
French
Item Description
Written and illustrated by Philippe Girard and translated by Helge Dascher.
Translation of: Leonard Cohen : sur un fil.
Physical Description
112 pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN
9781770464896
1770464891
Main Author
Philippe Girard, 1971- (author)
Other Authors
Helge Dascher, 1965- (translator)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Leonard Cohen was a Renaissance man—a singer, songwriter, poet, and author who reached far beyond his native Canada to make many connections worldwide and influence scores of musicians with his heartfelt lyrics. The opening of this slim graphic biography shows Cohen, having fallen from his bed as an old man, reflecting on the great influences on his life and career. Cohen's accomplishments were prolific, and Girard necessarily provides a very broad overview of Cohen's life. Readers meet lots of other personalities from Cohen's career; for readers unfamiliar with the notable people peppering the graphic novel, there is an index in the back with brief blurbs about their accomplishments. The art is done in a mostly muted palette, though the panels showing performances offer a little more color. Some of Cohen's most influential songs ("Suzanne," "Hallelujah") are given special attention. While hardcore fans of Leonard Cohen will likely be dissatisfied by the lack of detail for someone with such a rich history, this provides the perfect overview for those just becoming familiar with this artist. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Canadian rocker-poet Leonard Cohen's tumultuous life and career gets an oddly muted replay in this graphic biography from Girard (Haiti). Framed in mordant fashion by Cohen's final thoughts as he lays dying on his bedroom floor in 2016 ("All alone, like a dog"), the narrative cuts to postwar Montreal, where Cohen pursues his priorities ("wine, women and song") with a dour determination. Wandering from London to a small Greek island, he plucks away at a minor poetry career before turning fully to the guitar. Trying to break through as a singer-songwriter in 1960s New York, he hobnobs with some rock stars (Lou Reed) and romances others (Joni Mitchell, Janis Joplin). The ups and downs are narrated in a straightforward, episodic fashion with simple character drawings, often layered with a depressive torpor appropriate to Cohen's musical mood. Girard hits all the major touchstones, from the surprise late-in-life fame from Jeff Buckley's hit cover of "Hallelujah" to Cohen's manager defrauding him out of millions, and the artist going into a Zen monastery. Girard's focus on Cohen as a complicated man is well detailed, but it leaves limited space for untangling the complexities of his musical and literary output. All the necessary elements are in play, but they're not quite in tune. (Oct.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"Leonard Cohen opens in Los Angeles on the last night of the man's life in 2016. Alone in his final hours, the beloved writer and musician ponders his existence in a series of flashbacks that reveal the ups and downs of a storied career"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A captivating, revealing biography of the legendary musician and poetLeonard Cohen opens in Los Angeles on the last night of the man’s life in 2016. Alone in his final hours, the beloved writer and musician ponders his existence in a series of flashbacks that reveal the ups and downs of a storied career.A young Cohen traded in the promise of steady employment in his family’s Montreal garment business for the unlikely path of a literary poet. His life took another sharp turn when, already in his thirties, he recorded his first album to widespread international acclaim. Along the way he encountered a who’s who of musical luminaries, including Lou Reed, Nico, Janis Joplin, and Joni Mitchell. And then there’s Phil Spector, the notorious music impresario who held a gun to Cohen’s head during a coke-fueled, all-night recording session.Later in Cohen’s life, there’s the story of "Hallelujah," one of his most famous songs, and its slow rise from relative obscurity when first recorded in the 1980s to its iconic status a decade later with covers by John Cale and Jeff Buckley. And the period when Cohen went broke after his manager embezzled his lifetime savings, which ironically sparked an unlikely career resurgence and several worldwide tours in the 2000s. Written with careful attention to detail and drawn with a palette of warm, lush colors by the Quebec-based cartoonist Philippe Girard, Leonard Cohen is an engaging portrait of a cultural icon.