by: Julia Blackburn
publisher: Pantheon Books, New York
ISBN number: 0-375-40610-7
WHAT THE COVER READS:
'Nowhere else is the context of her life and work so vividly captured' -Toni Morrison
'Billie Holiday was - and is - a singer who stays in the mind of everyone who heard her. Like all jazz musicians, she sang about who she was at the moment and during all that preceded that moment. Julia Blackburn's With Billie tells Billie's own storie of that life, and this book becomes part of the music' -Nat Henhoff
'At last, a portrait of the artist and person called Billie Holiday. This extraordinary book completes her story.' -Mike Figgis
From Julia Blackburn, an author whose ability to
conjure lives from other times and places is so vivid that one
suspects she sees ghosts, here is a portrait of a woman whose voice
continues to haunt anyone who hears it.
Billie Holiday's life is inseparable from an account of her troubles, her addictions, her arrests - the scandals that would repeatedly put her name in the tabloid headlines of the 1940s and '50s. Her moods and faces were so various that she could seem to be a different woman from one moment to the next. But although she was so volatile and unpredictable, she nontheless inspired a deep respect in those who were close to her.
In With Billie, we hear the voices of piano players and dancers, pimps and junkies, lovers and narcs, producers and critics, each recalling intimate stories of the Billie they knew. What emerges is a portrait of a complex, brave, and enthralling woman, a woman who often, contrary to popular myth, did know what she wanted and above all knew what really mattered to her.
Reading With Billie, one is convinced that she has only just left the room but will return shortly.