Monday, 7 November 2016

Tarantula by Bob Dylan (3/5)

First published: 1971
Page count: 137
The back says: Music legend Bob Dylan's only work of fiction—a combination of stream of consciousness prose, lyrics, and poetry that gives fans insight into one of the most influential singer-songwriters of our time.

Written in 1966, Tarantula is a collection of poems and prose that evokes the turbulence of the times in which it was written, and gives a unique insight into Dylan's creative evolution. It captures Bob Dylan's preoccupations at a crucial juncture in his artistic development, showcasing the imagination of a folk poet laureate who was able to combine the humanity and compassion of his country roots with the playful surrealism of modern art. Angry, funny, and strange, the poems and prose in this collection reflect the concerns found in Dylan's most seminal music: a sense of protest, a verbal playfulness and spontaneity, and a belief in the artistic legitimacy of chronicling everyday life and eccentricity on the street.

I say: I’ve never been a fan of Bob Dylan, mostly because I don’t particularly care for his voice, but I have enjoyed his lyrics. So, much like most people, I was surprised to learn that he won the Nobel Prize in Literature this year.

Surprised and a little bit annoyed.

Having committed to reading at least one work by all winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature, I quickly reserved his only novel and read it a week later.

I wasn’t expecting much, so it would be unfair to say that I was disappointed.

Confused, perhaps.

I understand appreciate what Dylan is doing here, but I don’t particularly care for it. This is not a novel so much as short chapters about the lives and forays into the minds of random people presented without much thought to punctuation (which drives me insane), some quite poetic, but most just meh; and if there was logic in there, I missed it. Although I did enjoy a few stories were interesting, I mostly just read to have read.

Each story ends with a little letter of sorts that’s signed humorously, which I quite enjoyed.


All I all, 3/5. 

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