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Harvey Kubernik: Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows

Affectionate celebration gets inside the outsider.

Literally and figuratively a man of many hats, to unpick the fierce intelligence and cross-fertilised career of Montreal’s most famous disaffected aesthete is not a job for the mediocre or sensationalist.

Kubernik’s impeccable credentials – editor, journalist, A&R man, documentary producer, not to mention prose stylist – and association with Cohen, place him close to the spiritual, witty heart of a remarkable trajectory. Bolstered by a seriously impressive collection of rare and unseen photos, Kubernik charts the poetry, prose, music, romance, drugs, bankruptcy and 500-plus covers of Hallelujah that go some way towards illustrating a life still very much in progress.

Generously quoting those captivated and inspired, either directly or not – Joni Mitchell, Nick Cave, Judy Collins… (it’s a long list) – lends the book an even more insightful and humane air that befits its subject. An apt tribute./o:p