Tuesday, January 2, 2007

About the book

The secret life and tragic death of a great American songbird

Susannah McCorkle was a combination of Dorothy Parker and Doris Day, Sylvia Plath and Sylvia Sims, a fascinating blend of toughness and innocence, chiseled wit and girlish wonder," who began her music career as a disciple of Billie Holiday.Image of Haunted Heart cover
Ultimately McCorkle went on to develop a carefully crafted style of her own, performing in New York's famed Algonquin Hotel and in venues around the world.
Yet at the same time, although few of those close to her were aware of this, she struggled with bipolar disorder. Finally, in 2001, unable to overcome her crippling bouts of depression, McCorkle threw herself from the window of her apartment in New York City. Most of those in the overflow crowd at her memorial service were in shock, for McCorkle was as convincing a performer
at hiding her despair as she was at singing.
Haunted Heart follows two stories: the downward curve of McCorkle's emotional life as she descended into her illness and the upward arc of her singing career as it lurched uncertainly toward success.
Just as important and fascinating is the light Dahl sheds on the musicians and writers of the '70s, '80s, and '90s who created and informed public perceptions about the music of the jazz and cabaret world. By turns glamorous and brutal, this demimonde fed both the talents and insecurities of those who called it their home.

1 comment:

Steve B said...

Susie was a classmate in my Jr. year of high school. She was kind, smart, soft spoken and the prettiest girl I knew. I had a tremendous crush on her. I never told her, I was too shy.

Sometime in the 70's I ran across a review of one of her albums in the "Stereo Review". I was going to write and say "hi!" but I doubted she would remember me.

Last Friday (11-23-2007) I was looking up some things and suddenly thought of her and so I googled her.

A cold fist gripped my heart when I learned of her suicide. I dug deeper and began to learn how terrible the undercurrents of her life were. I found excerpts of your book. Today I went to the library and read parts of your book about her early life through high school.

Your writing was easy to read even though I had to keep wiping tears from my eyes.

There is one thing that is inaccurate though it really doesn't change much of anything. Her jr. year was at William Penn Sr. High, not John Harris.

The point is that what I read of your book was compelling and easy to read except for the feelings it invoked in me. I haven't decided if I will buy the book. I don't know if I can handle learning anymore of her sorrow.

I can't help wondering if I had told her how wonderful I thought she was, could it have been that butterfly wing that changed the course of events.

Depression is a terrible thing, I know, personally. I was lucky enough to get the right medicine.

I needed to write this and if you decide not to leave this on the site, I can understand. If you wish to edit it, I am ok with that.

I bought her album "from broken hearts to blue skies" yesterday and it was everything I have read about her singing. Everyone should hear her.
Steve Berliner