Monday, December 22, 2008

"Elvis People, Your Book has Arrived"

Ian McCillis of the Montreal Gazette weighs in on Adam Victor's The Elvis Encyclopedia: "In the nick of time comes the hernia-risking tome of tomes to remind us, in case we've forgotten, just who the real King is. And beyond the doorstops, there are plenty of more esoteric (and liftable) titles on offer. The Elvis Encyclopedia, by Adam Victor, is a work heroic in its dedication and detail, only fitting for a book that strives to be the one-stop source on the figure who still bestrides pop culture like a colossus 31 years after his death. As one flips with increasingly slack jaw through this profusely illustrated small-type cataloguing of any and every aspect of Elvis Presley's life and work, the thought begins to dawn that perhaps no other human life has ever been scrutinized this thoroughly Victor, author of a previous book on Marilyn Monroe (similar, but, of course, smaller), brings to his task a tricky combination of obsession and detachment; he's obviously a fan, but also has a critical edge, fortunate in that vast swathes of his subject's oeuvre are indefensible schlock. The author might on first perusal appear humourless, but in fact he's smart enough to let the surreal truth do its own sometimes mirth-inducing thing. Take the following entry, under Doctors (sub-entry Dentists): "Elvis was a great believer in oral hygiene, and regularly had work done on his teeth. When he met The Beatles, he was reputedly appalled at the condition their teeth were in." Elvis people, your book has arrived."

1 comment:

Kate Lord Brown said...

One to dream of (if Santa can lift it into his sleigh). I adored Elvis when I was my daughters age - so much so my parents didn't tell me he'd died for years ... In fact when I made a nostalgic pilgrimage to Graceland a few years ago it seems several people still haven't been told (or don't believe it). There were 'Happy Birthday Elvis' flowers on display. Maybe they know something. Makes you curious why they don't let you upstairs at the house ... ;)