Leslie Brody has a big story to tell, and she tells it well, deftly manoeuvring through an extraordinary life filled with multiple significant figures, historical episodes, social action, tragedies, world war, children and writing. Her style is easy and fluent, lively and engaging, enhancing what is a captivating life story.
It’s an odd sort of progression from surgeon to sandwich maker and from confectioner to showman. It’s hard, at times, to believe that this is a book about one person, though there is a kind of entrepreneurial, inventor thread that links everything Kerby does.
The best part of the artwork in Gandhi: A Manga Biography is that Kazuki Ebine creates characters that are true to life rather than being the large eyed cutesy figures of many of the Manga tales. Kazuki Ebine shows many scenes of action and pain and suffering as well as determination and the will to continue.
He devotes a chapter to Dylan’s voice, an incredible instrument, the thing that primarily differentiates him from a poet of the page. Another chapter, the second, looks at Dylan and cinema: films he has made (e.g. Renaldo and Clara), films that have been made about him (e.g. Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There).
Janet Browne shows him to be not only great but huggable. She also as a side benefit gives us an extraordinarily vivid picture of England in the nineteenth century. This is a book of wide appeal and reaches easily across boundaries to celebrate a man of genius who made a major change in our lives and was modest and unassuming in ways that are touching and memorable.
As a longtime admirer of all three of these artists, I was rivetted by Weller’s narrative and impressed by her analysis of their lives and legacies. But this is not just a book strictly for the fans of the music – anyone who is interested in womens’ role in society and the period that saw the rise of feminism and the ‘gender wars’ will find much to mull over here.
Despite its length, this is an engrossing book. It may not rival those great achievements in biography that one can read for their own sake, but everyone with an interest in Perec will find it essential. Although David Bellos rather…