Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Room Full Of Mirrors by Charles R Cross


Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix by Charles R. Cross
First published by Hyperion Books in August 2005.

How I got this book:
Borrowed from my partner

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Jimi Hendrix continues to fascinate, and sell huge quantities of albums, even 35 years after his death. Quite apart from his influence on musicians and fans, a large part of the appeal of his sensational life story lies in the thrill of the era whose values he came to stand for. The Sixties still exert a massive pull over pop culture and this is genuinely a book for anyone interested, not only in Hendrix but also in anything to do with the pop culture of the last 40 years.
Meticulously researched and sensitively and beautifully written, this is a labour of love that reveals the nuances, foibles and tragedies of the human being behind the iconic image. This is the sweeping, authoritative and colourful biography that Jimi Hendrix deserves and that his legions of fans, young and old have been waiting for.

I'm not a big Jimi Hendrix fan and so knew very little about him other than a few of his hit songs and his early death. Dave had this copy of Charles Cross' Hendrix biography and found it interesting so I thought I'd give it a try too.

The book is surprisingly dry for such an outrageous star. The coverage of Jimi's early life seems thorough and is sad to read as family life was pretty much nonexistent. Violence and poverty are recurring themes with whichever Hendrixes constituted the household at the time frequently moving from one dump to another.

Once Jimi finds music and begs a guitar, he works for, and later with, a bewildering number of musicians. Pretty much any star in sixties London is name-dropped at some point!
Cross has obviously done a fantastic amount of research, but I thought some of his inferences seemed contrived. The writing style is hit and miss and I felt tighter editing was needed, especially for incidents that are cited on multiple occasions, but without recognition that they have been mentioned before.

Jimi Hendrix did certainly lead a fascinating life and this is a good rendition of it, but I think a stronger writer could have made this a greater book.


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Books by Charles R Cross / Biography and memoir / Books from America

2 comments:

  1. It seems like the writing is what let it down, not necessarily the artist's life story... Even though I am curious to know more about him, I don't think this is one for me.

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