Gregory Kirschling
November 19, 2008 AT 05:00 AM EST

Somebody

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Stefan Kanfer
publisher
Knopf
genre
Biography, Nonfiction

We gave it a C+

It’s hard to write a great book about Marlon Brando, who, four years after his death, remains the most elusive of subjects. Even Brando himself botched the assignment; his 1994 memoir, Songs My Mother Taught Me, is famously kooky but unreliable, written to pay the bills. Somebody is the first major bio to appear since the star died, but it shows, like other books before it, that we may never get a full handle on the legend. Both Brando’s neuroses and his genius were so singular as to be almost incomprehensible, and while Stefan Kanfer concisely runs us through the actor’s life, he — like most of us — can only guess at what really drove this most quixotic of superstars. For a fuller sense, seek out Lawrence Grobel’s Conversations With Brando. C+

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