Carl Wilson, ace music writer for the Toronto Globe & Mail, tackles taste at its basest level: in the work of Celine Dion. Through careful ponderings, fan interviews, historical research, Canadian intuition and thoughtful, expert prose, Wilson struggles to understand the hows and whys of the Quebecois Queen, one of the most polarizing global cultural figures of the past decade, a woman whose appeal cuts across cultures and classes to approach a kind of fame seldom seen, and yet who is nearly universally despised among the critical elite.
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In terms of staring into the belly of the beast and finding peace and joy within -- or at least tolerant understanding -- this book stands alongside such classic aesthetic/cultural examinations as Dave Hickey's treatise Liberace: A Rhinestone as Big as the Ritz, and David Foster Wallace's A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. A perfect little book about a "perfect" singer.
Celine Dion performs at the American Airlines Arena on January 23.
-- Randall Roberts