The Last Holiday
Raised by his grandmother in Tennessee, Gil Scott-Heron’s journey from humble beginnings to becoming one of the most uncompromising and influential songwriters of his generation is a remarkable one. In this, his heartfelt, beautifully written and posthumously published memoir, we are given bright insights into the music industry, New York, the civil-rights movement, modern America, governmental hypocrisy, Stevie Wonder and our wider place in the world. It is also a fitting testament to the generous brilliance of Gil Scott-Heron and to the Spirits that guided him.
A marvellous documentary of black America and life lived in the raw * * Spectator * * Engaging and immensely human . . . Much like his poetry, Scott-Heron's style is spare and effective, offering up jagged observations on fame, friendship and political and racial injustice. * * Independent on Sunday * * This memoir reads a bit like Langston Hughes filtered through the scratchy and electrified sensibilities of John Lee Hooker, Dick Gregory and Spike Lee . . . about his own music, he could not be more simple or elegant. "I was trying to get people who listened to me," he writes, "to realise that they were not alone." -- Dwight Garner * * New York Times * * One of the great pioneers of late-twentieth-century music. * * Independent * * Scott-Heron is such a fine writer . . . As readers and fans alike, we are left to mourn the passing of surely, the least likely pop star ever, one with a truly brilliant mind. -- Rob Fitzpatrick * * Sunday Times * * A delight, full of with and alliteration and studded with passages of verse . . . it is a heartbreaking read as the last testament of a much-loved man, but it should certainly be read. * * Herald * * Gil Scott-Heron is timeless. * * New York Times * * An impressively lucid book . . . both candid and guarded . . . his final admissions are heart-rending. * * Metro * * For more than two decades, [Gil Scott-Heron] has been committed to examining those facts of the human condition that most of us would rather forget . . . he is an artist who has crafted witty but crucial insights for Black America. * * Washington Post * * The formative incidents of Scott-Heron's life are placed in their cultural and historical contexts with great delicacy and precision. -- Ben Thompson * * Sunday Telegraph * *
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