What Is It All but Luminous: Notes from an Underground Man

Art Garfunkel. Knopf, $27.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-385-35247-5
Garfunkel, half of the folk rock duo Simon & Garfunkel, loves singing, reading, performing, acting, walking, keeping lists, and his wife—as he writes in this meandering, sometimes incoherent memoir. Early on, Garfunkel pays tribute to his vocal talent: “These vocal chords... have vibrated with the love of sound since I was five and began to sing with the sense of God’s gift running through me.” As the narrative proceeds, Garfunkel wanders through his life, reflecting here and there on his complex relationship with Paul Simon; his love for and admiration of James Taylor; the suicide of his girlfriend Laurie Bird in the late 1970s; his walks across Japan, the U.S., and Europe; and his wife Kathryn Cermack’s breast-cancer diagnosis in 1996. Obsessed with lists, Garfunkel intersperses his rambling reflections with lists of the books he has read, songs on his iPod, and even 10 reasons why he’s in “awe of his wife.” Garfunkel seldom settles on one subject for long before he’s off to a related topic from his life. While Garfunkel reveals flashes of real insight about the transcendent power of music and the inner workings of a singer’s life, for the most part this slim volume feels tiresome. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 05/29/2017
Release date: 09/26/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-0-525-49989-3
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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