March 5, 2021

Bob Dylan’s Chronicles, Volume 1

I frequently receive books from my middle sister, ones she or a family member have read. Bob Dylan’s Chronicles, Volume 1 was in the last box. My sister admitted that she had not read it, but her husband and my nephew had both finished it and recommended it.

Dylan’s memoir was published in 2004 and was included in many “best of” book lists of that year, but it did not attract me as something I wanted to read. Good thing that I got this new chance to relish the very Dylan-esque prose.

He initially depicts 1961 where he is busking for change in New York clubs in Greenwich Village. This is a heady time for a boy from Hibbing, Minnesota.

His prose vocabulary and turns of phrases are surprising and poetic, just like his lyrics. He writes about favorite songs and artists as well as books he admires. We also get to read about his encounters with people as diverse as Archibald MacLeish, Woody Guthrie and Frank Sinatra Jr.
We are also given a rare glimpse into his creative mind as he struggles with song lyrics, melodies, recording sessions and grapples with celebrity and his career trajectory.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no volume two which is a pity. Bob, please put on your writer’s cap again.

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