With Los Angeles in the midst of pandemic lockdowns, songwriter and author of Devil in a Coma Mark Lanegan sold his home there and relocated to the Republic Of Ireland with his wife. All was going swimmingly until Lanegan was floored by COVID-19 and ended up fighting for his life in a County Kerry hospital bed. End-of-life discussions went on around him as he lay in a coma; later, a tracheotomy is considered for the notably gravelly vocalist, which would have put paid to his singing career.
Incapacitated and drifting close to passing through the doors of hell, Lanegan’s mind went into a psychedelic meltdown of remorse and regret – demons resurfacing to torment like a Hubert Selby Jr. version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Yet Lanegan survived the nightmare and what he writes in Devil In A Coma is as unflinchingly honest as his first memoir, 2020’s Sing Backwards And Weep.
There is, too, a bleak and brutal beauty to the poetry that occupies many of Devil in a Coma‘s pages: they are largely in a similar vein to Leaving California, his previously published collection of poems. This latest title is a must-have for Lanegan fans, or anyone left hungry for more of his pitch-black wit.
Devil In A Coma, Mark Lanegan (White Rabbit)
Price: £12. Info: here
words DAVID NOBAKHT