One cannot exactly claim that Nick Cave’s life and his oeuvre at large are being disregarded – au contraire, the interpretations and coverage of his emissions of the man, the myth, the legend is manifold. All the more interesting it is when a book emerges that tackles the life of Nick Cave through the deliberate effort of grinding a new lens.
In the case of author Mark Mordue, the early years of the Dark Prince are portrayed in a manner that could be described as a melange of a traditional biography and a chronological portrayal of the evolution of his musical career.
Nick Cave aficionados will most likely be familiar with his upbringing and formative years, which eventually resulted in the founding of The Boys Next Door and The Birthday Party with his school friends Mick Harvey and Phill Calvert, however, what Boy on Fire offers, are nuances that fill in the gaps. Mordue accomplishes this feat by having spent close to a decade investigating how the Australian context shaped him, with information being elicited straight from the horse’s mouth as well as the closer circle and long-time companions.
Taking a step back, it becomes apparent that the book tackles not only how Cave grew to a phenomenon revered the world over, but subtly ponders the bigger questions around life, talent and art by exemplifying it around his case study, showcasing his versatility and the illustrious facets of his personality.
Given that, there is quite a bit that the reader can reflect on, relay to one’s own life and ponder on what role the context one was brought up in is to blame for the person one has grown into..
A meticulously researched and borderline cinematic book for die-hard fans as well as the uninitiated.
While it does not even attempt to exhaustively explain the magic of Cave’s art, it shows how appropriation of existing material can create something entirely new and exciting through infusing it with the exploration of one’s own internal landscapes.
8.0 / 10
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