ELLIOTT SMITH AND THE BIG NOTHING

Benjamin Nugent, Author . Da Capo $23.95 (248p) ISBN 978-0-306-81393-1

This isn't the Hardy Boys–esque mystery starring tragic indie-rocker Elliott Smith that the title might suggest, but instead a rather skimpy bio timed to coincide with the first anniversary of his death. A prolific but troubled singer/songwriter, Smith inspired a legion of loyal fans and influenced a score of major artists, but for much of his career, he succeeded in flying under the mainstream radar. Then his song "Miss Misery" was featured in friend Gus Van Zandt's 1997 Good Will Hunting , and Smith, nominated for an Academy Award for best song, performed at the Oscars, clad in a white tux. But life didn't turn suddenly rosy; Smith struggled with drugs and depression, and in October 2003, he died of multiple stab wounds to the chest, an apparent suicide. In some respects, one has to feel for freelance writer Nugent, an avowed fan, for even attempting to write this book. Smith shied away from the media, leaving behind few interviews to draw on, and Smith's friends, family and acquaintances largely refuse to speak about him. While Nugent manages to patch together the major beats of Smith's life, he can offer little meaningful insight. Candlelight vigils commemorating Smith's death might drive sales at publication, but Smith's fans, as loyal as any in music, will be disappointed by this short and shallow biography. Agent, Amy Williams. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/13/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 238 pages - 978-0-306-81447-1
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-7867-3810-6
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