I'm only about fifty pages in, but I'm shocked and delighted by both the deceptions and deviances of a poet whose works I have always enjoyed and the engaging quality of the retelling by the author, Graham Robb, who points out on the back cover:
[Rimbaud] ... has been one of the most destructive and liberating influences on twentieth-century culture. During his lifetime he was a bourgeois-baiting visionary, and the list of his known crimes is longer than the list of his published poems. But his posthumous career is even more astonishing: saint to symbolists and surrealists, poster child for anarchy and drug use, gay pioneer, and a major influence on artists from Picasso to Bob Dylan."It strikes me that lumivalkoinen would probably delight in Rimbaud's iconoclastic and picaresque lifestyle.
Strangely, it was the cover that coerced me to purchase the book -- and even with the unquestionably superior narrative, I'm not sure that I would have purchased it, had it not been for the character of Rimbaud's expression on the cover of the book: his pale eyes, looking askance, are frighteningly and serenely compelling: his gaze alone could part the sea of the bourgeois, even without the singular power he held over words. Scroll down on the above link to see if you don't agree.