- 259,00 kr
In this generous collection of book reviews and literary essays, legendary Village Voice rock critic Robert Christgau showcases the passion that made him a critic—his love for the written word. Many selections address music, from blackface minstrelsy to punk and hip-hop, artists from Lead Belly to Patti Smith, and fellow critics from Ellen Willis and Lester Bangs to Nelson George and Jessica Hopper. But Book Reports also teases out the popular in the Bible and 1984 as well as pornography and science fiction, and analyzes at length the cultural theory of Raymond Williams, the detective novels of Walter Mosley, the history of bohemia, and the 2008 financial crisis. It establishes Christgau as not just the Dean of American Rock Critics, but one of America’s most insightful cultural critics as well.
Veteran music critic Christgau (Going into the City) assembles a wide swath of book reviews, written over the past half century, by turns impressively meticulous and frustratingly self-indulgent. Christgau mostly writes on books by or about notable musicians, though he hits other cultural touchstones too, such as George Orwell's 1984. It's in these nonmusic pieces that Christgau is most successful, shifting focus from his encyclopedic music-industry knowledge to the nuances of language. His essay on books about the 2008 financial crisis is a highlight. Part of the problem, Christgau writes, is how bankers talk about what they do, such as by calling insurance policies "swaps," or, more generally, making "human beings into abstractions by making abstractions the substance of their private subcultural argot." It's unfortunate, then, that for all the attention paid to linguistic clarity, Christgau sometimes ignores his own advice, frequently employing hyperspecific references that obfuscate rather than illuminate. For instance, in a review of a book about singer-songwriter Sam Cooke, Christgau showers the reader with song and record label names yet neglects Cooke's defining characteristic: his voice. Indeed, it's Christgau's own voice that comes through most strongly in this collection, to both the advantage and detriment of the books under discussion.