The songwriter, known for her carefully guarded privacy, has an upcoming biography
“One more time, she had to explain how she was born, and how the stage would be set for her to be the hero of her own life.” This is the beginning of David Yaffe’s new biography of Joni Mitchell, the iconic and elusive singer-songwriter whose album Blue was number one on NPR Music’s list of “The 150 Greatest Albums Made by Women.”
“After nearly fifty years, Blue remains the clearest and most animated musical map to the new world that women traced, sometimes invisibly, within their daily lives in the aftermath of the utopian, dream-crushing 1960s,” NPR Music‘s Ann Powers wrote.
Now, Yaffe, who teaches at Syracuse, has written a biography of a girl from the Canadian prairie who was one of the main faces of a scene she simultaneously rejected. “She would not fall in line behind fashionable causes,” Dan Chiasson at the New Yorker wrote. “She deemed free love a ‘ruse for guys’ and performed at Fort Bragg during Vietnam.”
Atlantic writer Jack Hamilton calls Yaffe’s biography the “best full-length treatment of Mitchell yet published,” a journey that takes readers from “her childhood in postwar Saskatchewan all the way up to a Chick Corea concert last year, her first public appearance after suffering an aneurysm in 2015.”
Yaffe’s book, Reckless Daughter, looks to be an incredibly intimate portrait of an unpredictable subject who rejected convention at most every turn.