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Summary

The second and concluding volume of Ian Bell's critically lauded study of the inimitable Bob Dylan.

By the middle of the 1970s, Bob Dylan's position as the preeminent artist of his generation was assured. The 1975 album Blood on the Tracks seemed to prove, finally, that an uncertain age had found its poet. Perverse or driven, Dylan refused the role. By the decade's end, the counterculture's poster child had embraced conservative, evangelical Christianity. Fans and critics alike were confused; many were aghast. Still the hits kept coming.

Then Dylan faltered. His instincts, formerly unerring, deserted him. In the 1980s, what had once appeared unthinkable came to pass: The 'voice of a generation' began to sound irrelevant, a tale told to grandchildren. Yet in the autumn of 1997 something remarkable happened. Having failed to release a single new song in seven long years, Dylan put out the equivalent of two albums in a single package. He called it Time Out of Mind. So began the renaissance, artistic and personal, that culminated in 2012's acclaimed Tempest.

In the concluding volume of his groundbreaking study, Ian Bell explores the unparalleled second act in a quintessentially American career. It is a tale of redemption, of an act of creative will against the odds, and of a writer who refused to fade away. Time Out of Mind is the story of the latest, perhaps the last, of the many Bob Dylans. This one might yet turn out to have been the most important of them all.

Born, raised and educated in Edinburgh, Ian Bell is a past holder of the George Orwell Prize for Political Journalism and the award-winning author of Dreams of Exile, a biography of Robert Louis Stevenson. Formerly the Scottish editor of The Observer, he is a columnist with The Herald and The Sunday Herald.

©2013 Ian Bell (P)2014 Audible Ltd

Critic reviews

"This is the best Dylan biography yet - an imagined reliving of an already imaginary life, and a book to sit alongside Ellmann on Wilde, Richardson on Picasso, Ackroyd on Dickens." ( Financial Times)
"As knotty, beguiling, contrary, infuriating, and ambitious as its subject...the most vital Dylan biography yet." ( The Guardian)
"Bell's literary bent is his strength. He brings fresh insight into Dylan's verse." ( Scotland on Sunday)

What listeners say about Time Out of Mind

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  • robert mcguigan
  • 27-07-15

Ironic yet cute

The sample doesn't give the full flavor, which before long becomes insufferable. The narrator actually switches from his droll British accent and into a Dylan imitation to quote him.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Alan Parker Thornton
  • 24-02-14

sneering mawkish delivery

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Yes, the information is pretty good. The tone is occasionally snotty which may have caused Thorpe to decide to read the entire thing as a insufferable whiner.

Who was your favorite character and why?

n/a

How could the performance have been better?

I feel strongly that another reader would be required. This guy's attempts to imitate Bob Dylan and others made me cringe repeatedly.

"...one should never be where one does not belong."
-Bob Dylan

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

n/a

Any additional comments?

I'll never buy anything else with David Thorpe reading.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-04-21

No review needed.

One star says enough. Let’s get 15 words in. Don’t waste your time listening to this book.

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  • Scott
  • 03-03-21

Hatchet job

I don't know what Bob Dylan did to the author, but I'm sure he's sorry for it.

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  • Thomas E. Powers
  • 19-02-21

Too much politics and butchered pronunciations

The author inserts way too much of his political views as if on crusade— quite tedious and boring.

The reader consistently butchers the pronunciation of common English words and names of places and people. Very distracting

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  • Mrs Eye
  • 02-01-21

Ian Bell is a great writer

I loved this book. It's hard not to love an author who, when writing about Dylan's religious period (paraphrasing) "Bob came close to speaking in tongues, but he had already done that with Mr. Tambourine Man".
The book is very well-researched and chock-full of zingers that are very entertaining.
The author is both Dylan's fiercest critic and his staunched defender. His knowledge is astounding.
As many have noted, the narrator switching between his British accent and then a Dylan accent was a little off-putting at first, but once I got past that I appreciated his delivery.
Give this book a chance. It's great.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 30-12-20

A Bitter and Stillborn Diatribe

Too much spilled ink over Dylan for this to even rate as mediocre bile - no matter how you feel about the man or the music. This review is my public duty to warn you away from a stupid waste of time.

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  • Paul McDonald
  • 20-10-18

Avoid

I couldn't get past the piss poor narrator imitation if Bob. It ruined the book.

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  • joker Man Dance
  • 26-02-17

Compared to the man, a very small book.

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?


And then there's the narration. An acceptable British reader. At least until the first of many passages quoting Dylan, where he breaks out his , I guess, best Dylan impersonation. Sorta like Joan Baez's, come to think of it. But her's is obviously a joke. Here it is indescribably annoying by the second chapter - and it will appear as a bizzaro world Greek chorus every few minutes. I don't understand the judgement that thought this was a good idea.