Boy on Fire: The Young Nick Cave (Hardcover)

Boy on Fire: The Young Nick Cave By Mark Mordue Cover Image
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The first volume of the long-awaited, near-mythical biography of Nick Cave, by award-winning writer Mark Mordue. 

An intensely beautiful, profound, and poetic biography of the formative years of the dark prince of rock 'n' roll, Boy on Fire is Nick Cave's creation story, a portrait of the artist first as a boy, then as a young man. A deeply insightful work that charts his family, friends, influences, milieu, and, most of all, his music, the book reveals how Nick Cave shaped himself into the extraordinary artist he would become. A powerful account of a singular, uncompromising artist, Boy on Fire is also a vivid and evocative rendering of a time and place, from the fast-running dark rivers and ghost gums of country-town Australia to the torn wallpaper, sticky carpet, and manic energy of the nascent punk scene which hit staid 1970s Melbourne like an atom bomb. Boy on Fire is a stunning biographical achievement.

About the Author

Mark Mordue is an Australian writer, journalist, and editor. He is a co-winner of the 2014 Peter Blazey Fellowship, which recognizes an outstanding manuscript in the fields of biography, autobiography, or life writing, and also the author of Dastgah: Diary of a Headtrip. He lives in Sydney.

Praise For…

"[An] expertly detailed account of the prodigious entertainer's early years. All the relevant voices have their say, creating a wonderfully alive picture of this tumultuous time...Anyone looking to join the dots of Cave's music and career will appreciate this work, as will those interested in how life shapes art." —Bookseller and Publisher


"Nuanced and unflinching, this conversational collection of stories and reminiscences paints a compelling picture of Cave, drawing on the friendships and creative influences that helped shape one of Australia's most enigmatic sons." —The Age

"Forensically researched, Mordue’s book riffs hard on Cave’s profound Australianness, on the rivers and scrub and incipient violence that Cave’s writing later mixed with the gothic atmospheres of the American south. . . . Mordue talks to huge numbers of witnesses over a decade, fleshing out the familiar punk rock story with a rich art historical perspective, and deep dives into Cave’s obsessions with works such as Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. . . . Mordue’s great strength is that he is not a professional biographer, detached and omniscient; he is a writer with his own stylistic flourishes who intimately understands the milieu he is writing about." Guardian

"A brilliant and thoroughly research account of how Nick Cave became the man and the artist he is today." Headstuff

"[T]he kind of rock biography that makes all music writers feel inadequate by comparison. Ostensibly the story of Nick Cave's formative years, it is so beautifully constructed that one is not just delivered besides the young Cave, but also next to the modern version." The New Cue

"[A]n excellent new biography. . . . I can't wait for Volume Two." Irish Examiner

"There is plenty of humour in Boy on Fire...and beautiful moments, as well as delinquency and sadness...Hopefully Mordue will write a follow-up to this highly engaging biography very soon." Buzz Mag

"[H]is access to Cave and associates also creates an unusually intimate account." Mojo

"Mordue's book offers total immersion in the artist's early years...paints a vivid portrait of an artist in the process of becoming." Uncut

"An indispensable read for dedicated Cave heads." Irish Times
Product Details
ISBN: 9781838953690
ISBN-10: 1838953698
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Publication Date: June 4th, 2021
Pages: 432
Language: English