I'm just not sure that it was written that well, or perhaps the abridged version made it seem that way. Perhaps a different reader may have made it more catching.
Perhaps not. I really had difficulty getting into this book.
His voice is very sexy but as a reader it was not very catching and had more the effect of a relaxation tape. I would end up just zoning right out.
Honestly i had a hard time remembering actually what went on in this book, since i pretty much fell asleep most times I listened to it.
Moving further from work extended my daily commute... thank God for Audible.
Disclaimer: I am not the target demographic for this book. Before reading Chronicles, I had what can only be described as a passing acquaintance with Dylan's life, music and influence.
Dylan definitely assumes the reader will already know his "story", so offers instead a series of rambling, non-linear reminiscences. From my perspective, this was not an autobiography, but more like watching a shadow puppet version of a life story. I guess I can see how Dylan fans would find the timeline-free account and endless name-dropping appetizing, but I could only detect subtle wafts of interest. I’ve never read the unabridged text, but I fear this abridged version could be partially (or even totally) to blame for the confusing narrative.
About halfway through the book I decided to read the Wikipedia entry on Bob Dylan to get some context and grounding. Honestly, I found the Wikipedia entry more compelling than Chronicles.
Sure, it's poetic — some of the most lyrical lines I've read in a book. But that brings me to the plagiarism controversy. It's obvious Dylan pulled some of the books best phrases and ideas from other writers. But I don't have an inherent problem with that — Dylan even references the imitative and “borrowed” nature of his music in Chronicles. However, knowing this is a manuscript stitched together from found spare-parts, only confirmed my feeling that Chronicles really has much less to say than I was expecting. It does prove that Dylan is a talented bower bird.
Sean Penn gives a gruff and low performance, his voice dripping with burly apathy. I have to admit, Penn's celebrity does lend this recording an air of borrowed prestige. But if were judging the narration on quality alone, Penn’s performance is average at best. I’m afraid Sean’s indifferent style may have influenced my indifferent response to this reading.
On a positive note, the book did pique my interest in 1960's counterculture, and inspired me to learn more about the music, the politics and the issues of that time — three stars for whetting my appetite.
Really enjoyed Volume One. Looking forward to Volume Two. Sean Penn does a great job of narration. Dylan's descriptions of his early days in New York City are enlightening as are the insights into the national treasure himself.
into the mind of a creative artist. Dylan describes the unfolding of his career, as well as his artistic process. If you love Dylan's music, you'll want this book! Sean Penn does a fine job reading. I for one will be waiting eagerly for Volume Two.
I have idolized Bob Dylan since the first time I heard him. I looked forward to his book and now own both the printed and the audio versions. Too bad the audio is abridged, but Sean Penn did a great job. I almost thought it was Bob himself reading at times. My biggest complaint is that it doesn't go deep enough into what I imagine Bob's life to be like, or the thought process behind many of his songs. But I'll take what I can get and you can be sure I'll read volume 2!
I'm a seventies child and not a huge fan of Dylan (I actually like his more recent stuff over the sixties-era work) but I can recommend this audio-book to those with only a passing interest/knowledge of the man and his songs.
A few folks have complained about Sean Penn's 'monotone' narration, but I think it fits right in with Dylan's unstructured, loose writing style. I will definitely be buying Volume Two!
Bobbie Zimmerman tells his story free of drugs, sex, and rock and roll. He says he was just a folk singer and fans interfered with his life. As I listen to the audio, I had to check to see if I was listening to the discs in the right order. The book is revealing, but I did not like what it reveals. The Dylan I loved as a teen was not in this book. It was painful to this 50 year old former fan.
Any one who is interested in the life of the iconic Bob Dylan and who ever is interested in a glimpse of the life and mechanics of the music world in the 60's and beyond should listen to this book.
The delivery is fantastic particularly in view of the autobiographical nature of the narration. Some times you forget it is not Bob who is sitting there talking to you.