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Books  >>  Biography

Sylvie Simmons

I'm Your Man

Sylvie Simmons I'm Your Man The Life Of Leonard Cohen
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Main description:

Leonard Cohen, one of the most important and influential artists of our era, is a man of powerful emotion and intelligence whose work has explored the essential issues of human life—sex, religion, power, love. Cohen is also a man of complexities and seeming contradictions: a devout Jew, who is also a sophisticate and a ladies' man, as well as an ordained Buddhist monk whose name, Jikan—"ordinary silence"—is quite the appellation for a writer and singer whose life has been anything but ordinary.

I'm Your Man is the definitive account of that extraordinary life. Starting in Montreal, Cohen's birthplace, acclaimed music journalist Sylvie Simmons follows his trail, via London and the Greek island of Hydra, to New York in the sixties, where Cohen launched his career in music. From there she traces the arc of his prodigious achievements to his remarkable retreat in the mid-nineties and his reemergence for a sold-out world tour almost fifteen years later. Whether navigating Cohen's journeys through the backstreets of Mumbai or his countless hotel rooms along the way, Simmons explores with equal focus every complex, contradictory strand of Cohen's life and presents a deeply insightful portrait of the vision, spirit, depth, and talent of an artist and a man who continues to move people like no one else.

Review quote:

“[A] vibrant and enthusiastic chronicle... Carefully weaving the threads of all of his songs and albums through the patterns of his life, Simmons craftily explores the themes that regularly mark Cohen’s work: desire, regret, suffering, love, hope, and hamming it up.”

Review quote:

I’m Your Man is the major, soul-searching biography that Leonard Cohen deserves... a mesmerizing labor of love.”

Review quote:

“A deep, enlightening book. . . Simmons, a music journalist and short-story writer, knows how to research and write and keep a critical distance from Cohen, who opens up some but uses his usual weapons, politeness and self-deprecation, to maintain an air of mystery.”

Review quote:

“A new gold standard of Cohen bios.”

Review quote:

“A thoughtful celebration of the artist’s life...Simmons has deftly narrated Cohen’s evolution... In the end, this biography has the oddest effect: as soon as you finish reading it you feel an overwhelming impulse to go back and begin again, revisiting the story with what you’ve learned along the way.”

Review quote:

“Cohen is a complex man and Sylvie Simmons has captured every essence of it in her remarkable book. This is a deeply insightful portrait that is guaranteed to haunt the reader much like his “Suzanne” and “Bird on the Wire.”

Review quote:

“Compelling biography. . . A must for anyone interested in one of the most influential songwriters of our time.”

Review quote:

“Exquisitely researched and elegantly written.”

Review quote:

“In I’m Your Man, we see not only the life of one man who was transformed by words, but how we ourselves may be transformed by them.”

Review quote:

“In this elegantly crafted biography, Simmons captures the artist who, in spite of all his highs and lows, is still sharp at the edges, a wise old monk, a trouper offering up himself and his songs.”

Review quote:

“Leonard fought darkness through his work and... the light ultimately prevailed when he triumphantly toured the world for three years beginning in 2008... ‘You could hear the hairs stand up on people’s arms,’ writes Simmons of the hushed reverence of his audience. This book demands a similar reaction.”

Review quote:

“Simmons is a

Singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen is one of the most important and influential musical artists of the past fifty years—and one of the most elusive. In I’m Your Man, journalist Sylvie Simmons, one of the foremost chroniclers of the world of rock ’n’ roll and popular music, explores the extraordinary life and creative genius of Leonard Cohen.

I’m Your Man is an intimate and insightful appreciation of the man responsible for “Suzanne,” “Bird on a Wire,” “Hallelujah,” and so many other unforgettable, oft-covered ballads and songs.  Based on Simmons’s unparalleled access to Cohen—and written with her hallmark blend of intelligence, integrity, and style—I’m Your Man is the definitive biography of a major musical artist widely considered in a league with the great Bob Dylan.

Readers of Life by Rolling Stone Keith Richards and Patti Smith’s phenomenal Just Kids will be riveted by this fascinating portrait of a singular musical icon.


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