While I was reading this, Nick Cave was my superhero; like a gangling hybrid of Johnny Cash and Johnny Rotten; his wiry frame clad in funerary suits; his gaunt face and piercing eyes, snarling lyrics from behind a shock of black hair. I suspect young people of a particular disposition (and upbringing for that matter) will open this book and feel like they've come home. Right from the first pen-and-ink monochrome, this biography seethes with hyperbole and surrealistic folktale, culled from Cave's lyrical imagery. Far from being a straight biography, this account of Cave's life hopelessly, and wonderfully, intertwines his art and his myth. It recounts the journey of a musician antihero: spring-boarded from his dull Australian hometown—dreaming of Punk Rock and Dostoevsky—and passing through a procession of (now legendary) musical scenes, from ‘80s London to West Berlin, all the way to the end of the world in the fiery heart of the Hadron Collider; self-actualizing all the while through sheer arrogance and single-minded determination. I marveled at Kleist’s perfect illustrations, sometimes long after I had finished a page. I absolutely loved it, and I've had This Is: Nick Cave on repeat on Spotify since. — From Salvatore's Picks
Musician, novelist, poet, actor: Nick Cave (b. 1957) is a Renaissance man. His wide-ranging artistic output—always uncompromising, hypnotic, and intense—is defined by an extraordinary gift for storytelling. In Nick Cave: Mercy on Me, Reinhard Kleist employs a cast of characters drawn from Cave’s music and writing to tell the story of a formidable artist and influencer. Kleist paints an expressive and enthralling portrait of Cave’s childhood in Australia; his early years fronting The Birthday Party; the sublime highs of his success with The Bad Seeds; and the crippling lows of his battle with heroin. Capturing everything from Cave’s frenzied performances in Berlin to the tender moments he spent with love and muse Anita Lane, Kleist’s graphic biography, like Cave’s songs, is by turns electrifying, sentimental, morbid, and comic—but always engrossing.
About the Author
Reinhard Kleist is an award-winning graphic novelist best known for his graphic biographies Johnny Cash: I See a Darkness, The Boxer, and An Olympic Dream. He lives in Berlin.
“Combining lyrics and characters drawn from Cave’s body of work, Kleist blends actual events with invented anecdotes and occasional sequences highlighting the point of view of Cave’s onetime lover and collaborator Anita Lane to create a story that has all the hallucinogenic fury and emotional resonance of the performer’s most memorable work.”
— Library Journal
“…if you are at all of a fan of Nick Cave, I recommend picking this book up right away.”
— Dangerous Minds
"Kleist's evocative ink drawings, dark and violent with regular hints of humor, suit their subject perfectly."
— The Current